Sarasota, Florida – April 16, 2010 – Young scientists were honored with prizes, cash awards and – for two top-ranked high school students – a chance to shine in international competition as the 2010 Regional Science, Engineering and Technology Fair came to a close last night.
The annual awards ceremony was held at the School Board auditorium, where Superintendent Lori White and district leaders recognized 140 students of all ages for placing first, second or third in twelve different categories of research. Special awards for exceptional projects were also presented. Two students will go on to represent Sarasota County at the prestigious Intel International Science and Engineering Fair next month. See list of Special Awards here.
Cindy Kaiser, Executive Director of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, presented cash awards to all first place winners and major scholarships to outstanding high school participants. The Faulhaber Foundation Prize for the Scientific Exploration of Nature went to two Sarasota High students, who received awards of $1,000 each. Richard Schineller’s project, “Effects of Radio Waves on Ferro Fluids,” took first place in the physics category. Wayne Dahlberg’s engineering project, "The Effectiveness of an On-Demand Hydrogen Cell on the Efficiency of an Internal Combustion Engine," placed first in its category.
The $500 Dart Foundation Award for Medicine & Health was presented to Alyssa Heere, another Sarasota High School student, for "Effect of ADHD Medication on the Heart Rate of Daphnia." Heere also received the Carl Luer Biological Science Award, recognizing the student who best represents the spirit of scientific inquiry.
Alyssa Heere, winner of the Dart Foundation Award, with Dr. Carl Luer
The Omar Cooper Student Achievement Award, carrying a $2,000 prize and a year-long mentorship, was presented by the donor to Sarasota High’s Shelby Gladhill for her project entitled "A Correlation Between Boat Traffic and Marine Life." Over the next twelve months, she will have the opportunity to work with Dr. Jay Leverone from the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program.
Phillippi Shores Elementary School, Sarasota School of Arts and Science and Suncoast Polytechnical High School captured the Christopher P. Puchalla, Sr. School Award for Encouraging Young Engineers.
Each first, second and third place winner received a certificate and a “Bright Future” card game, a gift from Applied Materials, Inc. The California-based company created the game to engage students in becoming good stewards of the earth’s resources. Decks were also distributed to fifth grade science classrooms.
The two overall winners of the high school contest will go on to compete internationally next month. Sarasota High School’s Jared Carter and Out-of-Door Academy’s Brittany Wenger will represent the county at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) in San Jose, California from May 9-14. Carter’s experiment, “Body Armor Utilizing a Sheer Thickening Fluid,” captured top honors in the chemistry division. Wenger’s project, “Does Practice Make Perfect? The Role of Training Neural Networks,” bested all others in the computer science category. All expenses for their travel and participation in the Intel ISEF are paid for by the Education Foundation.
The Intel ISEF has been called the “Olympics, the World Cup, and the World Series of science competitions.” Now in its 60th year, the Intel ISEF is the world's largest pre-college science competition and the only science project competition for students in grades 9-12. The Intel ISEF brings together students, teachers, corporate executives, and government officials from around the world. This year, more than 1500 students from 50 countries will compete for over $4 million in scholarships, tuition grants, scientific equipment, and scientific trips.
Susan Puchalla, Sarasota County Schools’ science curriculum specialist and the fair’s director for the past ten years, said that 756 Sarasota County students from 37 public, private and home schools submitted 701 individual and team projects to the regional competition this year. More than 120 volunteer judges helped determine the overall winners, winners in each of the categories, and recipients of special awards. Student projects were evaluated at county-wide competition held at Robarts Arena in late January. First place projects were featured at the Sarasota County Fair in March.
Sarasota County Schools collaborates with the Education Foundation of Sarasota County and the Sarasota County Fair Association to present the fair each year. Hundreds of Sarasota County students participate by completing research in science, engineering, math or technology using the scientific or engineering method. The Education Foundation underwrites the regional fair, the county’s participation in international competition, and numerous cash awards through the generosity of community sponsors.
Local sponsors support the Regional Science Fair at various levels. New this year as DaVinci Sponsor is The Faulhaber Foundation, Inc. Einstein Sponsor is the Dart Foundation. The Sagan Sponsor is the Sarasota-Manatee Area Manufacturing Association.
Lakeview Elementary’s Joseph Beach, Zachary Payne, Max Beach with Cindy Kaiser
Venice Elementary’s Sophia Schumacher, Priyanka Devaguptapu and Claire Shiparski with their “Bright Future” card games from Applied Materials, Inc.