Three Arizona Students Win Prestigious Cambridge Science Competition One Receives Top In The World Exam Result


(MENAFN- PR Newswire) PHOENIX, Feb. 13, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Four students at Gary K. Herberger Young Scholars Academy, located in Phoenix, have won awards for their top performance on examinations and global competitions run by the International Education group of Cambridge University Press & Assessment (Cambridge ). The awards include 'Best in World' in the Cambridge IGCSE (Pre-Advanced) Science Competition , and 'Top in the World' for the Cambridge Advanced English Language examination.

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Liam MacLaughlin (left), Ema Saliba (middle) and Jessica Finnie (right) are joint Global Winners of the Cambridge IGCSE (Pre-Advanced) Science Competition
Liam MacLaughlin (left), Ema Saliba (middle) and Jessica Finnie (right) are joint Global Winners of the Cambridge IGCSE (Pre-Advanced) Science Competition

A team of three students, Jessica Finnie, Ema Saliba and Liam MacLaughlin, have been named the Global Winners of the Cambridge IGCSE (Pre-Advanced) Science Competition for their impressive research project on the removal of heavy metals from water.

The team explored the removal of heavy metal divalent cations (Cu2+) from water using natural, environmentally friendly sodium alginate polymerization. As public schools across the United States are faced with high levels of lead in drinking water, this research project could not be timelier.

The students shared the prestigious 'Best in World' award with a team of students in Mongolia. In total, 270 teams from schools around the world took part in the extracurricular competition which helps develop learners' passion for science. Cambridge asks students to consider sustainability in their planning and investigate a topic of practical relevance to their school or community – helping students connect science to solving real-world problems.

Michael Twilling, Executive Director of the Gary K. Herberger Young Scholars Academy , said: "It was their initiative, their planning, their time and energy, their thought. The school simply supported the students with space and access to some of the materials. This happened entirely because these students care about the world they live in. They care about future generations. They have a passion for science and scientific thought. These three students are not waiting until they are out of school to change the world. They are starting now!"

Speaking about the motivation for their project, team member Liam MacLaughlin said: "I know we're all interested in sustainability and that's a big issue in our world right now, using nonrenewable and unsustainable resources. We wanted to have something that deals with the environment and is a potential solution."

When asked about her win, Jessica Finnie said : "I'm so honored! This is such a prestigious competition, and with the level that everyone else is at, it was very exciting to receive this award."

In addition, Eliana Pandelakis received 'Top in the World' for Cambridge International AS & A Level English Language in the June 2023 examinations. As well as demonstrating her incredible hard work, knowledge and skills, these exam results are important because they provide excellent opportunities for college credit, recognition, and scholarships. Every year, Cambridge recognizes exceptional achievement in its international examinations by high-school-age students around the world.

Mark Cavone, Regional Director, North America for International Education at Cambridge , said: "It is a great pleasure to honor students in Arizona for their phenomenal results in Cambridge competitions and examinations, as well as celebrate their teachers' unrelenting commitment. Cambridge strives to provide an education that not only meets the short-term needs – achieving a place at higher education or securing a job – but also inspires learners to change the world for the better. Together with teachers, we are shaping the learners who will shape the world."

The Cambridge Pathway for K-12 brings together a globally recognized instructional approach that aligns curriculum, teaching, and learning with meaningful assessments that measure mastery. Alongside in-depth understanding of a variety of subjects, students master a broader range of critical skills that will equip them for a world that is changing, both technologically and economically, at an unprecedented pace. The curriculum is designed to develop learners who are confident in working with information and ideas, equipped for new and future challenges, and engaged intellectually and socially.

Notes to Editors:

About Cambridge

Cambridge International Education is the awarding body of the International Education group at Cambridge University Press & Assessment, part of the University of Cambridge. Our International Education group works with schools worldwide to build an education that shapes knowledge, understanding and skills. Together, we give learners the confidence they need to thrive and make a positive impact in a changing world.

We offer a globally trusted and flexible framework for education from age 3 to 19 (the Cambridge Pathway), informed by research, experience, and listening to educators.

With recognized qualifications (such as Cambridge IGCSE and International AS & A Level), high-quality resources, comprehensive support, and valuable insights, we help schools prepare every student for the opportunities and challenges ahead. Together, we help Cambridge learners be ready for the world.

Learn more at

SOURCE Cambridge International Education

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