How Does Genetics Affect Our Lives?

Kate Garber, PhD, Director of Education, Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine visited with 7th Grade Life Science students on Tuesday, November 19th.   Seventh grade had just completed studying genetics and this was a good opportunity to hear about current research and how genetics affects our lives.  Dr. Garber discussed stem cells, how genetic engineering is used to help people with certain disorders, and how it can be used to engineer a crop to produce a vitamin in areas where deficiency in that vitamin has had health consequences.  Other topics included how genes can be inserted and used as markers to provide research tools and genetic testing.  Some students participated in a genetic testing exercise which helped them see how genetic mutations can be uncovered.  Thanks to Dr. Garber for sharing her knowledge and helping our students learn more about this important topic.


On Monday, November 18, 2013, Mr. Bill Waggener, President of the Georgia Mineral Society, visited with 7th grade Life Science students to discuss fossils.   Past climates and environmental changes were discussed as well as how those changes affected evolutionary changes in life.  Fossil formation and what constitutes a fossil was also covered.   Students were then invited to observe various rocks looking for fossils and then trying to identify them.  Fossils included whale rib bone, petrified wood, fossil clams and brachiopods, corals, sea stars, crinoids, and many others that were millions of years old.  Thanks to Mr. Waggener for sharing his expertise and his fossil collection with us!

FSA Won 1st Place in 2013 Chattahoochee Science Olympiad Competition

On Saturday, November 16, 2013,  three Fulton Science Academy Private School Science Olympiad Teams competed in the Chattahoochee Invitational in Johns Creek. This was the first tournament of the season and included teams from Alabama, Tennessee and the Atlanta area, including rival Dodgen Middle School who placed second in last year’s state tournament and twelfth at Nationals. The FSA teams brought home the 1st place and 5th place plaques as a team.

Head Coaches Pam Walsh and Gloria Stathos were pleased with the team’s performance. “This was the first year Chattahoochee has hosted an invitational and you never know what to expect at a new tournament, but our students performed well and we’re very satisfied with the results,” said Mrs. Walsh.
The competition was a reunion of sorts for many former FSA students. Colin Walsh, Stephanie Stathos, Suryabratta Dutta, and Sunny Chen, all members of the 2010 FSA National Science Olympiad Team, and Beyza Akgun, 2012 FSA National Team member, assisted with the tournament by proctoring exams.

Congratulations to all of these students, parents and our wonderful coaches. 
Individual awards were earned by the following students:
Anatomy – coached by Mrs. Ambari
3rd Place – Hasan Unal and Araneesh Pratap
5th Place – Sanjeev Uppalari and Avnee Naik
Boomilever – coached by Mr. Seker
5th Place Sule Anik and Kian Najaf
Disease Detectives – coached by Mrs. Lewis
5th Place Sree Sanku and Suraj Chatrathi
Dynamic Planet – coached by Mrs. Walsh
5th Place – Aditya Choudhari and Simon Wang
Entomology – coached by Mrs. Butler
2nd Place – Faith Lucas and Aditya Choudhari
Experimental Design – coached by Mrs. Stathos
1st Place – Simon Wang, Mira Mutnick, and Sule Anik
2nd Place – Maryam Unal, Sruthi Chatrathi, and Sophie Richardson
Heredity – coached by Ms. Doraiswami
4th Place – Sruthi Chatrathi and Karuna Kumar
Meteorology – coached by Mr. Ambardekar
4th Place – Neel Ambardekar and Sule Anik
Metric Mastery – coached by Ms. Fichter
1st Place – Araneesh Pratap and Vikram Ruppa-Kasani
Road Scholar – coached by Mrs. Stathos
3rd Place – Neel Ambardekar and Mira Mutnick
Robo-Cross – coached by Mr. Kaya
4th Place – Yusuf Tas
Rocks and Minerals – coached by Mrs. Walsh
1st Place – Brian Shoffeitt and Jean Moorman
3rd Place – Callie Webster and Soleil Moffitt
Rotor Egg Drop – coached by Mr. Seker
1st Place – Hasan Unal and Kian Najaf
3rd Place – Akash Bhatt and Nadine Haddad
Shock Value – coached by Mr. Wang
2nd Place – Simon Wang and Vikram Ruppa-Kasani
Simple Machines – coached by Mr. Near
1st Place – Araneesh Pratap and Brian Shoffeitt
3rd Place – Julian Hamelberg and Josh White
Solar System – coached by Mrs. Walsh
2nd Place –Jean Moorman and Aditya Choudhari
Sounds of Music – coached by Mr. Yanasak
5th Place – Mira Mutnick and Faith Lucas
Water Quality – coached by Mrs. Butler
1st Place – Jennifer Near and Elaine Wen
2nd Place – Sophie Richardson and Akash Bhatt
3rd Place – Vikram Ruppa-Kasani and Sule Anik
Write It, Do It – coached by Mrs. Stathos
1st Place – Sophie Richardson and Karuna Kumar

Fulton Science Academy Math Whizzes Win First Place in 3 Competitions

How does a Math Olympiad team win two competitions held at the exact same time in different locations? For the Fulton Science Academy (FSA) Private School Math Olympiad Team, it meant splitting the team into two groups.

The FSA math team was faced with the logistical feat of competing in two different math competitions at once on Saturday, Nov. 9. So the team divided into two groups and competed in two different math competitions on the same day  and took home first place awards from both competitions.
The first group attended 2013 Luella High School Math Competition and they not only won first place as a team, but took the top three placements individually.

The second group attended the War Eagle Middle School Math Tournament and they won first place as a team in the accelerated division.
The year started out just as strongly, with the FSA Math Olympiad Team students competing at the  Rockdale Math Competition in Conyers on Oct. 26. They won first place not only in their division, but also overall among all middle schools.
In his letter to Fulton Science Academy Private School, Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle said “Congratulations on placing 1st overall in the Rockdale Mathematics Competition. Your preparation and hard wok is reflected in this achievement. This is truly an outstanding accomplishment and I am proud to have you represent the city of Alpharetta.”
Principal Kenan Sener said that “Success like this does not come easy. The FSA Math Olympiad Team meets not only every week during club time, but also before school and weekends to improve their math skills.”
He said the students studied advanced math skills for two days at a math camp organized by the FSA math department educators in Helen.
“I am very proud of these students. They work hard, they work smart, and they work together. Winning three first place trophy in two weeks is certainly a big accomplishment. In my opinion, this is just the beginning of our FSA Math Olympiad team. Our ultimate goal is to win national and international trophies and represent our wonderful city of Alpharetta as well as we can.”
The FSA Math Olympiad Team includes Hyen Jay Lee, Brian Shoffeitt, Araneesh Pratap, Sid Marupudi, Nadir Lewis, Karuna Kumar, Ananya Terala, Elaine Wen, Julian Hamelberg, Aditya Choudhari, Jean Moorman, Hasan Unal, Mira Mutnick, Gwen O’Sullivan, Charlie Furniss, Andre Hamelberg, Katherine Li, Alice Qiao, Prajwal Vedula and Vikram Ruppa-Kasani.

Alpharetta Mayor, David Belle Isle Recognized Fulton Science Academy Math Team

Dear Math Olympiad Team members,

Congratulations on placing 1st overall in the Rockdale Mathematics Competition. Your preparation and hard work is reflected in this achievement. This is truly an outstanding accomplishment  and I am proud to have you represent the City of Alpharetta. You, along with your family, friends and the entire Fulton Science Academy should be very proud of your success. Keep up the hard work. I look forward to seeing what you do in the future.

Your Mayor,

David Belle Isle


Pre-K students have been learning all about our community and community helpers. On Friday, we had a special visit from Dr. Lavania (Rohan’s dad). Students learned about tools doctors use and got a chance to use stethoscopes to hear each other’s hearts and lungs. They also got to practice putting on sanitary gloves, masks, booties, and hair caps to protect them from germs in the hospital! We had so much fun learning about how to become a doctor and are very thankful for Dr. Lavania’s visit!

Kindergarten Students Love Science Fair Experiments

Both of the Kindergarten classes have been having a fantastic time collaborating on their Science Fair experiments. Today we saw a demonstration by Rylar and Abhinav on how hot water molecules and cold water molecules move at different speeds in the “Underwater Volcano” experiment. Kaya and Kerim showed how different surface materials on a ramp affect the downward acceleration ability of a plastic car. Each student enjoyed developing their own hypothesis for this experiment prior to the demonstration (you should have heard the reasoning behind why a few thought bubble wrap would make the car go faster)!
We also listened to Riley and Ian discuss the concept of their boat shape and weight experiment, and then everyone built a boat from aluminum foil to test this Friday. Orion and Jonathon’s research on the best way to sprout a potato has paid off!  The red potato under the sink in the Science Olympiad Room has sprouted and is ready to race towards sunlight in their homemade potato maze box.   Best of all- students enjoyed the free exploration centers afterward where they could experiment with different variables of acceleration using ramps and lifts and plant one of three seed types to see which sprouts the quickest.  We are so excited to show off everything we have learned as we prepare for the FSAPS Science Fair, but we will be so sad when it is over!

FSA Hosted U.S. Marine John Maltby on Veterans Day

In honor of November 11, Veterans Day, Fulton Science Academy hosted veteran John Maltby today.  The speech given and the videos shown by Mr. Maltby were very informative and exciting. Listening to historical events from a person who actually lived it is always an amazing experience. At the end of the speech Mr. Maltby tested student’s knowledge and awarded the winners with posters and pens. We thank Mr. Maltby for his service and speech today. Our students learned many wonderful things from him. Thank you to all Veterans today! We honor your extraordinary work and sacrifice. 

We also thank one of our wonderful parents, Mrs. Doraiswami, for arranging this wonderful event for our students. 

1st Place in 2013 War Eagle Math Competition

On November 9 2013, the same day that Fulton Science Academy Private School Math Olympiad Team students won 1st place in 2013 Luella High School Math Competition,  the other half of our Math Olympiad team attended 2013 War Eagle Math Competition and they also won 1st place as a team in the accelerated division.

It was an amazing day for our Math Olympiad Team as they returned home with two 1st place trophies from two different math competition on the same day.

Winner students in 2013 War Eagle Competition include Katherine Lee, Vikram Ruppa-Kasani, Gwen O’Sullivan, Prajwal Vedula, Mira Mutnick, Charlie Furniss, Andre Hamelberg and Alice Qiao. 

Congratulations to all of these students, their parents, our math coaches for winning 1st place trophy in two different math competitions on the same day.

Model U.N. Team Won Three Distinguished Delegate Awards at the State

Congratulations to the FSA Model U.N. team!  Last week, the team traveled to Statesboro, GA to compete in the 32nd Annual Georgia Southern Middle School Model United Nations competition.  The team this year has a total of 24 students, many of whom had never competed or been involved in Model U.N. before.  Mr. Stiffler and Ms. Pruett are so excited to announce that our team won Honorable Mention as a school delegation, and had 6 students win individual awards.  

Neel Ambardekar, representing Mali and Vikram Ruppa-Kasani representing Togo, both in the African Union, and Aditya Choudhari representing Mali were each given honorable mention for their performance.

In the Human Rights Council, both Brian Shoffeitt representing Cote d’Ivoire and Chloe Richardson representing Sierra Leone as well as Nicholas Glotzbach representing Togo in the Security Council were all named as distinguished delegates for their roles.

The team now has to quickly turnaround and prepare for their next competition on November 22nd at Centennial High School.

Congratulations to these students, and to the entire team for such an outstanding performance!  Mr. Stiffler and Ms. Pruett are so proud of them, and hope you will share in our excitement as you congratulate these students!