Last updateWed, 20 Sep 2017 9am

Astro superstar explores strange new worlds: Local prof voyages to realm of science fiction


Foothill College astronomy professor Andrew Fraknoi retired June 30 after 25 years on campus, prompting tributes from students and colleagues who recognized not only his teaching at Foothill, but his role as a public intellectual in Silicon Valley and beyond.

Foothill offers free college to first-generation students

A program launching this summer at Foothill College aims to put underrepresented students through their first two years of college at no cost while they are still in high school.

St. Francis student wins honors for Zika research

Courtesy of Mythri Ambatipudi
St, Francis High School student Mythri Ambatipudi presents her award-winning research on the Zika virus at an international competition in Los Angeles.

If the phrase “youth science fair” conjures in your mind images of baking soda volcanoes, eggs soaking in Coca-Cola and wobbly Rube Goldberg machines, it’s time to reset your expectations.

Mythri Ambatipudi, a rising senior at St. Francis High School, won a slate of awards this spring for her research on the devastating effects of the Zika virus. Ambatipudi took home the Best in Championship grand prize from the Synopsys Santa Clara County science fair, won second place at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, placed at the California State Science Fair and was named an Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius by the California Life Sciences Institute.


James Brewer of Los Altos graduated from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa with a bachelor’s degree in commerce and business administration. He made the school’s spring semester dean’s list.

Deadline for senior parcel-tax exemption looms

Senior homeowners who reside in the Los Altos School District may be eligible for exemption from the district parcel tax. The deadline to request an exemption is Friday.

To qualify, homeowners must be age 65 or over, own a parcel of land within district boundaries and use the parcel as their principal residence.

Local kids go high-tech at Foothill STEM camp

Photos Jane Ridgeway/Town Crier
Seventh-graders Annabelle Lo, above left, of Loyola School and Abby Berwick of Cupertino Middle School examine the results of a crystal-growing experiment at Foothill College’s STEM Summer Camp. Instructor Adrian Phillips, below right, advises seventh-grader Tanner Muret of Cupertino Middle School on a three-dimensional animated scene on the final day of camp.

Foothill College bustled with unusually youthful energy this month as middle and high school students from across the Bay Area descended on the campus for the fifth annual STEM Summer Camp.

Running in four-day sessions through July 20, the camp offers short, intensive courses in everything from roller-coaster science to the chemistry of cooking. The camp’s focus, said founder Oxana Pantchenko, remains unchanged since its inception: introducing young campers to innovative Science, Technology, Engineering and Math concepts and equipment and awakening their passions.

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