Inside Seven
Current Issue: September 2014
(R to L)District 7 Director Mike Miles; Christopher Isozaki; his mother, Sandra Isozaki; PECG Los Angeles Section President John Vassiliades.

PECG Awards Students at Science and Engineering Fair
by  Judy Gish
Issue Date: 06/2012

(Click on photos to enlarge and read captions)

If you are a Caltrans engineer or California native, you probably think you know all there is to know about earthquakes and structures.

But, have you ever designed an earthquake-resistant school desk? One 6th Grade student from Saint John Fisher School did, and it won him the $1,000 Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG) “James E. Roberts Award” at the 2012 Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair.

Twelve-year-old Christopher Isozaki set out to discover what optimum combination of shapes and materials would allow a desk to withstand a 3,000-pound object falling from at least 10 feet. At a very cooperative auto wrecking yard, he had a heavy vehicle dropped on his final desk configuration – an arch-shaped reinforced concrete layer with a thin steel skin. It survived!

Isozaki presented his findings to a senior staff meeting on June 4, where he is pictured. Audience members were captivated by his presentation, poise and scientific research.

Winning the PECG $1,000 Marilyn J. Reece Award was Sevana Manoukian of the Rose & Alex Pilibos Armenian School for the project, “Seismic Earthquake: Feel the Suspension.”

From a total of 1,063 entries, 42 were short-listed and judged by the special awards team and 11 of them were also selected to receive Honorable Mention Certificates, recognition medals and Gift Card Certificates from Target stores.

“The fair was a big success and received good media coverage,” said PECG President, Los Angeles Section, John Vassiliades. “The PEGC contribution was appreciated by many participants who praised public servants for their altruistic service to the community.”

For more on the awards, please go to

PECG award winners Sevana Manoukian and Christopher Isozaki give the Thumbs Up at the Science Fair. (L to R) John Vassiliades; Science Fair Judge Sutida Bergquist; District 7 Director Mike Miles; and Senior Transportation Engineer Grish Biglarian surround PEGC award winners Sevana Manoukian and Christopher Isozaki.