Decision Allowed Him to Live an Experience Never Imagined

Humans of South East

By Adilene Carrera

IMG_2382It all started in 7th grade when he  was handed the application. Eager to try new things, he took it and decided to apply. Little did he know what that decision had in store for him nor that he would fall in love with the spiny, purple sea urchins.

Gerardo Rochin, a freshman in the Tech & Media magnet, has been conducting scientific research at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium facility for the past three years. “My teachers and other students who had been in the program before encouraged me to give it a try. It was an opportunity not everyone was given,” he said. He gave it a try and started of with his first experiment.

“The first experiment I conducted there involved testing how the growth of sea anemones was affected by their food preference,” Rochin said. He didn’t how this experiment was going to turn out but he took the challenge and did the experiment.

After trying it the first time Rochin decided to continue.“ It’s something I’ve grown to be passionate about, and I like being in an environment of scientists,” he said. And so he tried it again in 8th grade and this year.

“From the three experiments that I have conducted, I am most proud of last years. I tested the effects that fertilizer doses had on the fertilization of purple sea urchins,” Rochin said. This was the project that led him to a big competition.

“ This project led me to compete at the LA County Science Fair where I won 2nd place and went to the CA State Science Fair, [and] being the first ever at SGMS to reach that level,” said Rochin. He never imagined that this project would make him go this far in competition.

When his name he first got on stage he began getting nervous. “I started getting the chills, I was cold and I started sweating,” said Rochin. But the emotions didn’t stop there.

“When they called my name for second place I couldn’t believe it. I was so happy and shocked because I never imagined that this project would take me that far. Not only that, I was the first to go to the state and [the first to be] nominated to be entered into the 10% of all science projects in the U.S. from SGMS just felt really amazing,” said Rochin. He never imagined that by conducting this experiment at Cabrillo he would place in county and head off to compete in the state.

This experience is a “once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said. The emotions he felt at the moment of being placed were something he never thought would occur. Not many are given the opportunity to compete at this level but those who do, feel proud.

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