LAHS students prove benefits of teamwork

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By Kirsten Laskey

Individuals can create great things but there is something to be said about teamwork. Los Alamos High School sophomores  Nate Clements and Joe Abeyta can attest to benefits of working as a team.


The two have competed in science fairs as individuals but this year, Abeyta and Clements decided to combine their talents. Their efforts paid off.

The two students will join Holly and Ryan Erickson as well as Alexander Kendrickson at the International Science and Engineering Fair, which will be held in June in San Jose, Calif.

Their project examined  the effects grazing had on the crayfish population and water quality at the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

Abeyta addressed the water quality while Clements focused on the crayfish. Last summer, Clements explained, the two traveled to the Caldera three times and visited 18 different locations.

Their findings concluded that water was good enough for humans and fish, according to state standards.

Abeyta and Clements also determined the crayfish were doing well, too. However, Clements said there is a bit of a Catch 22 here because although the crayfish are doing well, they were identified as an invasive species which have been reported to be detrimental to other animals.

Both students agreed working together strengthened their project.

“Definitely,” Clements said, “I think it improved our presentation. I think we were able to get a more comprehensive study.”

Abeyta commented that by putting their talents together they were able to create a stronger project.

The results support the students’ claim; it is the first time either of them have attended the international science fair.

Clements said there was a lot of smiling and jumping off the stage when they learned they would attend the international science fair.

He added he proclaimed his John Lennon tie to be lucky.

Abeyta commented, “I’m really happy and of kind of just excited that all the hard work we put into this project paid off.”

While at the international event, Abeyta and Clements both said they are looking forward to just having a good time and meeting new people.

“I’m excited to meet new people,” Abeyta said.

“I think we’ll have a great time,” Clements added.

It may be the first time the two LAHS students have attended the international competition, but both are seasoned science fair competitors.

Abeyta has competed in science fair since he was in seventh grade and Clements said he has participated in science fairs competitively since sixth grade.

They encourage others to take part in these competitions.

Clements said, “It’s definitely rewarding and it’s a good way to (learn how to) present (and) write up this paper, project.”

Abeyta said, “It’s really rewarding. I do have. If you put hard work into it you will be awarded.”