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PECG Los Angeles

Los Angeles Science & Engineering Fairs

James E. Roberts Biography

About the Awards

In April of 2009, the Los Angeles Section of PECG established two new awards, in recognition of two former Caltrans Engineers, the James E. Roberts Award and the Marilyn Jorgensen Reece Award, to be presented annually at the Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair as follows:

The James E. Roberts Award ($1,000 cash), presented to the top male engineering student either in the senior or junior division. James Roberts spearheaded the worldwide highly recognizable Caltrans Highway Bridge Seismic Retrofit Program that made highway bridges throughout the state seismically safer. He has demonstrated the California seismic retrofit concepts at many conferences throughout the world.

The Marilyn Jorgensen Reece Award ($1,000 cash), presented to the top female engineering student either in the senior or junior division. Reece, an award-winning engineer, literally paved the way for women in the field of engineering as the first licensed female professional civil engineer (PE) in the State of California. Senate Resolution 72, authored by Senator Debra Bowen, has renamed the Santa Monica Freeway and San Diego Freeway Interchange to the “Marilyn Jorgensen Reece Memorial Interchange,” after the pioneer Caltrans engineer.

LA County Science and Engineering Fair

The Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair (LACSEF) provides the opportunity for students from public, private, and parochial schools to showcase their projects and compete for prizes, scholarship and other awards. These students represent some of the best in LA County, competing in 36 categories ranging from chemistry and biology to physics, engineering applications, and environmental management. This is a rewarding outreach experience for state engineers and related professionals who participate a student mentors.

Volunteer judges help determine category winners as well as those who will represent the LACSEF at the California State Science Fair and the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). LACSEF winners receive medals, cash, awards, and/or scholarship. Included in the LACSEF awards are the James E. Roberts and Marilyn J. Reece special recognitions presented each year by the PECG LA Section Special Award judges. Your participation as a judge truly makes a difference in the lives of students and shapes the engineers and scientists of tomorrow!

PECG’s MOU Section 5.11 provides for Mentoring Leave for participating in activities such as LACSEF. Those who sign up to help must seek prior approval by their supervisors in order to use state-approved Mentoring Leave.

If you have any questions, or are interested in serving as a volunteer judge for the next Science Fair, please contact John Vassiliades at or (213) 266-6572.

Latest Science & Engineering Fair Winners

To view all the winners, please follow the link below:

Science & Engineering Fair Winners


PECG 2024 Marilyn Jorgensen Reece Award ($1,000 split two ways)

Both projects received the same final score by judges and each student received $500

Mary  Tomooka
Project Title: “Which Bridge Will Hold the Most Weight During an Earthquake”

Rachel Lee
Project Title:  “Enhancing Sustainability and Performance of Building Materials: Developing Water-Resistant Hemp-Based Concrete Bound by Magnesium Oxychloride Cement”

PECG 2024 James E. Roberts Award ($1,000 split two ways)

Both projects received the same final score by judges and each student received $500

Aleksander Ajamian
Project Title: How Does a Maglev Train Stop?

Theodore Demetriades
Project Title: “Pioneering Ultra-Lightweight, High-Strength Materials and Their Multifaceted Applications”

Honorable Mention Winners

  1. Elizabeth Paladian (J0601)
  2. Jordan Rowe (J0618)
  3. Sophie Herbert (J0917)
  4. Evelyn Kruger (J1320)
  5. Sharhrzad Dardashti (J1320)
  6. Margqux Lane (J1126)
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