Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

February 28, 2014 at 9:29am

Lakewood student shows heart at JBLM, earns top science fair honors

Tillicum Elementary School third-grader Zinessa Patton gave a human heart science presentation to 514th Ambulance Ground Paramedics at JBLM. Courtesy photo

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There's no doubt that Tillicum Elementary School third grader Zinessa Patton loves science. The youngster has been an avid science fair participant for the last four years at her school; for the last two of those years, she's been a science fair award winner and has received a number of accolades for her work.

In 2013, her school science fair project "Brain Freeze" was awarded first place at school. She then went on to participate in the Clover Park School District's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Fair (STEM), where the young scientist received public recognition from Lakewood's mayor for her efforts.

For the 2014 fair, Zinessa created the presentation, "The Human Heart." She took first place again. Her project will be featured in the upcoming STEM Fair Saturday at Lakes High School.

It gets better.

Members of the 514th Ambulance Ground Paramedics from Joint Base Lewis-McChord served as judges for this year's Tillicum Elementary School science fair. Impressed with Zinessa's "Human Heart" project, the team invited her to give her presentation to other team members at JBLM. The student scientist was thrilled by the invitation and graciously accepted. Along with her family, Zinessa visited the base on Feb. 21. According to Zinessa's mother, Zina Cockrell, Zinessa absolutely cherished the experience. The family thanks all of those involved at the 514th Ambulance Ground for making this event happen.

It doesn't stop there. Zinessa is not only a budding scientist and a straight-A student, she's a philanthropist, too. She raised $250 for the American Heart Association.

Zina Cockrell says Zinessa's love of science and school is in the genes.

"My mother taught science for 37 years in Gig Harbor," says Cockrell. "I was exposed to science at an early age. The same thing happened for Zinessa. She started loving science at a young age."

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