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An independent day school educating students PreK-Grade 12

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King’s ASPIRE Students Shine

King School’s Advanced Science Program for Independent Research and Engineering (ASPIRE) students are on a winning streak, having earned accolades at the Connecticut STEM Fair and recognition at the Connecticut Junior Science & Humanities Symposium (CT-JSHS). Their success in these competitions bolsters the depth and breadth of the school’s success in fostering intellectual growth through curiosity and research.


2024 Connecticut STEM Fair

In a dazzling display of scientific prowess, King School students showcased their talents at the 2024 Connecticut STEM Fair held virtually on Saturday, February 3. The annual event, drawing approximately 300 participants, unfolded with students delivering brief presentations followed by a rigorous question and answer session. All of King’s six ASPIRE students participated in the competition along with four of their peers. Five of the ten made it to the podium.

Four ASPIRE students to earn accolades included Maddie Scanlon '25, who earned fourth place in the behavioral sciences category, Ryan Wempen '24, who earned third in the environmental sciences category, Parker Hayashi '25, who earned third in the physical sciences category, and Antonia Kolb '24, who collected fourth in the physical sciences category. The ASPIRE students were joined in their success by Lucia Vivanco '26, who earned second place in the environmental sciences category.


"I am honored and grateful for the opportunities provided through ASPIRE, which have enabled me to pursue my own interests independently at a distinguished level," Maddie said.

Lucia, a rising ASPIRE student, entered the fair with a project born from the science research elective class. Her groundbreaking research focused on identifying chemical strategies to prevent and reverse coral bleaching. 

“As a beginning student in the sciences, this is a major accomplishment,” said Director of Science Research Victoria Schulman. “She is a rising ASPIRE student, but thus far, her efforts are all her own without major lab support or mentorship, which highlights the potential of this relatively new elective course.”

Lucia will join the ASPIRE program next year. 

"I am so grateful that I decided to take the science research elective because it allowed me to develop an independent project I was passionate about under the mentorship of teachers who could prepare me for competitions and fuel my love of science," said Lucia.

Connecticut Junior Science & Humanities Symposium (CT-JSHS)


In addition to Antonia’s success at the STEM Fair, she made headlines at the Connecticut Junior Science & Humanities Symposium (CT-JSHS.)

“In this completely separate competition, Antonia not only made finals, but she also won the whole competition,” said Schulman, adding that Antonia’s win qualifies her for the National JSHS competition in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in May.

For this competition, only the top thirty students in the state were selected to compete in the finals, and the top 15 of those were selected to make oral presentations during the competition. Antonia qualified for this top tier and won the finals round with her presentation on her DeTickt app, which identifies a tick and gives a comprehensive, heuristic-based risk assessment using geospatial data and epidemiological data. 


"I really enjoyed presenting my work and listening to other inspiring projects,” said Antonia, “I am so honored that I won first place and am excited to attend Nationals in New Mexico.”

Her success in both competitions - the STEM Fair and the JSHS competition, come on the heels of her being named a top 300 scholar in the 83rd Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and mathematics competition for high school seniors throughout the country. Antonia’s accomplishments solidify her potential in the scientific community. 

Joining Antonia at the event were Leon Wang '25 and Bruno Reinhoefer Ribeiro '25, both recently accepted into the ASPIRE program. Leon, who will be interning at the Joel Blanchard Lab at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City this summer, described the competition as "a very eye-opening experience" that fueled his motivation to excel in his own research.

These triumphs underscore the dedication of King School to nurturing scientific curiosity and fostering a community of young researchers poised to make significant contributions to the scientific landscape. With aspirations soaring high, the school looks forward to the continued success of its students in the realms of STEM and beyond.

The ASPIRE program is supported by the Advanced Mathematics and Science Study Program endowed fund established in 2018 by Margharet, Frank, Bea '15, and William '17 Nash to support select students with demonstrated ability and interest in achieving true excellence within science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics in global competition preparation, and/or laboratory research experiences. If you are interested in further supporting this opportunity for students, please contact Director of Development Barb Drayer to discuss how your gift can help.