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Twin sisters Emma and Sarah Simmons’s love of horses has led them to the winner’s circle at the Frederick County Science and Engineering Fair. Their invention, “Portable Bronchodilator Delivery System for Equine Inflammatory Respiratory Diseases,” garnered them several awards, including: the Overall Middle School Grand Prize; 1st place in the Middle School Biomedical Engineering category; the Broadcom Masters Top Prize (Broadcom Masters is affiliated with the Society for Science); the Hively Family Inventor Award; the Lemelson Early Inventor Prize (sponsored by the Lemelson Foundation.The Broadcom Masters top prize includes an invitation to the national competition in Fall 2022.

The seventh graders engineered a device that delivers medication to a horse with equine inflammatory respiratory disease. This device is unique because it allows a rider to administer the medication while remaining mounted. Typically, horses are given medicine for diseases, such as asthma, through an intramuscular injection or an electric nebulizer, which requires that the horse be taken to a stable or veterinarian. The nebulizer treatments require electricity to operate the compressor, and the horse is kept still and quiet during administration since the horse is required to wear a mask.

“We are incredibly proud of Emma and Sarah,” said Mother Seton School Principal Kathleen Kilty, Ph.D. “The ingenuity and hard work that went into this project are impressive.”

The sisters’ invention has many potential applications, such as for mounted police engaged in urban crowd control, farming and ranching, and equestrian eventing. In these situations, if a horse becomes respiratory compromised, emergency medication cannot easily or safely be administered. With the system Emma and Sarah engineered, the life-saving medication can be delivered by the rider without the rider dismounting. 

“It is an amazing achievement for Emma and Sarah,” said their mother, Lisa McLeod-Simmons, Ph.D. “It also highlights what a great school Mother Seton is, that students are not only ’taught’ science, but they are taught to ‘do’ science.”

Mother Seton School announces Emma and Sarah Simmons, grade 7, as Overall Middle School Grand Prize winners of the 41st Annual Frederick County Science and Engineering Fair for their invention, “Portable Bronchodilator Delivery System for Equine Inflammatory Respiratory Diseases.”

The Vai script is a unique indigenous writing system found in Sierra Leone and what country to its southeast? Sixth-grader Maryn Rajaski could tell you. (The answer is Liberia!) The Mother Seton School student placed first in the school-wide Geography Bee held on January 17, 2020. Maryn is no stranger to the finals; last year, she was the runner-up. Maryn will now have the opportunity to take an online test to be submitted to the National Geography Bee. The top 100 finalists in Maryland as determined by the test will move on to the state-level competition in March. The final competition is the National Geography Bee, which will be held in May. The National winner receives a $50,000 college scholarship. The National Geography Bee is in its 32nd year and is sponsored by the National Geographic Society.

Elizabeth Vines, Middle School teacher and Geography Bee coordinator, says participation in the Bee is a fun way to promote the value of understanding the world around us. “I tell the students they are global citizens,” she said. “The Bee is one of the ways in which we try to broaden their minds.”

Maryn competed against other classmates who were selected after the initial classroom screening, including: Robert Mongelluzzo and Dylan Slusher (Gr. 4); Elizabeth Iferd and Vivian Lewis (Gr. 5); Grace Hewitt (Gr. 6); Brady Koenig and Aidan Shranatan (Gr. 7); Elizabeth Goodwin and Tim McCarthy (Gr. 8).