Catlin Gabel Senior’s Nanotechnology Research Takes First Place at Intel Northwest Science Expo

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Press Release

Apr 9, 2004

For Immediate Release

Contact: Becky Kessler


Catlin Gabel Senior’s Nanotechnology Research Takes First Place at Intel Northwest Science Expo

Seven Catlin Gabel Students Place in Top Three at Regional Fair

Catlin Gabel seniors shone at the Intel Northwest Science Expo, which included regional and state science competitions. It took place on April 2 at Portland State University.

Catlin Gabel senior Aitor Maiz-Urtizberea won first place in the Engineering category of both the state and regional competitions, and Best of Fair in the Oregon statewide competition. His Best of Fair award means he will join Team Oregon in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair at Portland’s Convention Center on May 10 through 14.

Aitor’s winning project, titled Synthesis and Characterization of Tungsten Oxide Nanowires and their Conversion to Tungsten Sulfide Nanotubes, describes research he did last summer while apprenticing in Dr. Jun Jiao’s lab at Portland State University. Tungsten sulfide nanotubes form a tiny structure used to emit electrons. They could be used in high tech equipment such as electron microscopes and flat screen monitors. Current manufacturing methods are expensive, cumbersome, and require use of toxic hydrogen sulfide gas. Aitor’s research outlines a safer, cheaper technique for manufacturing the nanotubes.

Of the internship, Aitor says, “I really enjoyed the experience. I was able to work independently, with the guidance of Dr. Jiao and one of her graduate students. I learned a lot about nanotechnology and material science, as well as the intricacies of research procedures.” After last summer’s internship Aitor presented his research at the Pacific Northwest American Vacuum Society conference, where he received a Special Student Award as one of few highschool level participants. The Journal of Materials Research has since published a paper on his research that he co-authored.

After his freshman year in highschool, Aitor volunteered at the Oregon Graduate Institute, helping with research into optical nanotechnology. The following summer he volunteered at the Centro de Estudios y Investigaciones Técnicas (CEIT) in San Sebastian, Spain. His research there involved testing the properties of tungsten carbide and other ultra-hard materials.

Of his highschool studies, Aitor says, “Catlin Gabel’s science program got me and kept me interested in science, especially physics. The teachers are very supportive of individual science projects.” Aitor is currently deciding among several colleges, where he will pursue an engineering degree. He would like to focus his studies on materials engineering. He is on Catlin Gabel’s varsity tennis and basketball teams, and also greatly enjoys his work in ceramics.

At the regional level of the Intel Northwest Science Expo, seven Catlin Gabel seniors also achieved the following outstanding results: Ella Dutton, first in physics; Scott Thompson, first in microbiology; Danielle Marck, second in botany; Miranda Middleton, second in environmental sciences; Marguerite Moore, third in zoology; and Divya Sachdev and Emily Tjuanakis received honorable mention in botany.

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The Catlin Gabel School is an independent, co-educational day school, dedicated to student individuality, academic excellence, multiculturalism and lifelong learning. The school’s dynamic pre-kindergarten through twelfth-grade curriculum combines academics with arts, physical education and a strong sense of community service. Catlin Gabel is independently governed by a Board of Trustees and is not supported by tax or church monies.

The mission of the Intel Northwest Science Expo (NWSE) develop scientific talent and promote science literacy in Oregon and SW Washington students by providing a structure and a venue for presenting high quality student research. The Intel NWSE encourages students to learn science, engineering and math by engaging in the activities that characterize these endeavors. It also recognizes and rewards the great work students do, inspiring students to consider science, engineering and math careers. Visit for more information.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) is the worlds largest pre-college celebration of science. Held annually in May, the Intel ISEF brings together over 1,200 students from 40 nations to compete for scholarships, tuition grants, internships, scientific field trips and the grand prize: a $50,000 college scholarship and a high-performance computer. Science Service founded the ISEF in 1950 and is very proud to have Intel as the title sponsor of this prestigious, international competition.