High school students from Fairfax County schools attended the annual regional science fair held at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, March 20-22, to compete for prizes and recognition.“This is the 60th Fairfax County Public Schools science fair, and I think that deserves a round of applause,” said fair director, Myra Thayer.
“We are all proud of the job our students did at the regional science fair,” said Tim Harazin, Fairfax County Public Schools Elementary science specialist.
“We also appreciate all of the volunteers that it takes to make a successful event like this. There were almost 400 judges between the category judges and the organization judges that volunteered time yesterday morning and afternoon to interview the students and provide encouragement. There were also many volunteers from teachers and other county staff that worked together to have the event come off so well,” Harazin said.
The event was an opportunity to showcase and promote the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills of Fairfax County schools.
More than 40 corporate and professional organizations helped support this year’s event, with patron support coming from Northrop Grumman. Presentation of special awards was conducted by Captain Dan Kelly with the Naval Science Awards Program and Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Dwight Yamada.
Helping present awards were Fairfax County School Board member Ryan McElveen and Langley High School senior Harris LaTeef. Also attending the event were members of the Fairfax County School Board and regional assistant superintendents.
"The regional science fair is always an amazing representation of the project-based learning that our students have engaged in, and it's incredible to think that we've now held the event for 60 years," said Ryan McElveen. "It's always an honor to participate, even if I don't understand the science behind the majority of the projects."
THERE WERE 600 students participating in the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) regional science fair. Ten Fairfax County students will continue on to the May international science and engineering (ISEF) fair in Pittsburgh, Pa. Individual grand prize winners for the 2015 fair included Langley High School’s Kendy Li, Thomas Jefferson’s Prathik Naidu, Richard Oh, and Jung Yoon Kim, Oakton High School’s Stephanie Mui, Chantilly High School’s Aishwarya Nugooru and Neal Agarwal, and West Potomac High School’s William Makinen. Team Grand Prize Winners for the fair were John Han, Jake Cui, and Lil Li from Madison High School for their biochemistry project titled “Development of a Novel Near-Infrared Fluorescent Theranostic Anti-Cancer Agent.”
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) had a team grand prize winner for a project done on systems software. TJHSST team winners consisted of Rohan Suri and Clarissa Scogins, and their project was titled “A Contact Tracing System Utilizing Intercellular Proximities.”
“The thing I love about the science fair is that it gives kids a chance to talk about something that they have created with a really authentic audience, our fantastic judges,” said Charley Sabatier, High School science specialist with Fairfax County Public Schools. Sabatier worked with Myra Thayer and volunteers to make the event possible. “We are so thankful for the support that we receive for the FCPS regional science fair from the school board, the leadership team, and our amazing school principals. The science fair is a wonderful example of a truly authentic STEM event.”
SOME OF THE PARTICIPANTS won several awards for their scholastic work at the science fair. This included Chantilly HS student Aishwarya Nugooru, who in addition to being a grand prize winner for the ISEF fair, won awards including the Youth Inspire Award 1st Place Award and American Statistics Association, Honorable Recognition. Nugooru’s project entails a novel therapy for HIV, an infection that does not currently have a cure. “My approach is a safe, accessible and targeted therapeutic for HIV… Many have discouraged me from continuing my research and they described a cure for HIV to be "impossible" but I always thought: ‘Shoot for the stars and you never know where you'll end up.’ In this case, my perseverance as a researcher has led me to discovering a potential cure and paradigm shift in HIV/AIDS research.”
“I'm always amazed by the ingenuity and creativity of our student researchers and I was very glad to be a part of this year's fair. Many of my classmates presented their projects ranging from cancer research to electrical engineering and I am sure the next generation of scientific pioneers are among those who participated in our Fairfax County Regional Fair,” said Harris LaTeef, Langley High School senior and student representative to the Fairfax School Board.