When Clark Magnet High School student Saro Meguerdijian learned last spring about the presence of hexavalent chromium in local groundwater, he began mentally working through a solution.
Hexavalent chromium, a cancer-causing carcinogen also known as chromium 6, cannot be removed from water with a traditional filter.
"I realized that while standard filtration might fail to remove miniscule hexavalent chromium ions, a negatively charged surface, which would be sticky to positive ions, could remove hexavalent chromium ions," Saro said.
After months of research and experimentation, Saro proved his thesis correct, successfully decreasing the concentration of hexavalanet chromium in a beaker filled with artificially contaminated water via electrochemistry. And the 16-year-old senior's work was rewarded last month when he was named a regional semifinalist in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology.
"I think it validates our program and the kind of high-level, authentic learning that goes on," Clark Principal Douglas Dall said of the award.