Roanoke County Public Schools held the annual Science Fair at William Byrd Middle School on February 18. Approximately 81 projects were submitted by students from the county’s five middle schools, five high schools, the Burton Center for Arts and Technology (BCAT), and the Roanoke Valley Governor’s School.
Projects covered a variety of science fields including Behavioral and Social Sciences, Biochemistry, Plant Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Physics, Astronomy, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Energy, and Microbiology.
Four William Byrd Middle School students sponsored by teacher Kay Thompson entered projects in the science fair.
Emma Copening from WBMS won first place in the Chemistry division with her project “Turn Milk into Plastic,” which investigated recipes for making casein plastic with milk and vinegar should we run out of petroleum.
Hannah Sutton from WBMS researched “Which Material Makes the Best Parachute” to compete in the Engineering: Physical/Engineering Mechanics/Materials Science division. She compared the air resistant qualities of soft and hard plastic, cloth, and paper.
Adi Iyer from WBMS won second place in Earth and Environmental Sciences/Environmental Engineering with his project entitled “Environmental Effects on Quality of Roanoke Valley Drinking Water Sources.”
Grace Saunders, also from WBMS; won third place in that same category with her study on “Heat Absorption,” studying which color of dyed fabric absorbs the most heat.
Thirteen students from William Byrd High School, including several who also attend the Roanoke Valley Governor’s School or BCAT, entered 11 projects in the science fair. Instructors sponsoring their projects included Melissa Carr, Lezlie Yaegar, Steve Smith, Susheela Shanta, Mark Mailhot, Cynthia Boland, Brent Holt, and Billy Meador.
Emily Brooks and Julia Burek from WBHS won first place in the Behavioral and Social Science division with a project on “Testing the Accuracy of Eye Witness Testimony.”
Megan Wu and Celine Matar from WBHS won second place with “Citizenship Testing for American-Born Citizens.” Their experiment examined whether American-born citizens can answer the same civics questions that immigrants must answer.
Zac Jones also entered the Behavioral and Social Sciences division with his study of “The Correlation Between Age and Nutritional Knowledge.”
Richard Qiu from WBHS and the Roanoke Valley Governor’s School won first place in the Biochemistry/Biomedical Engineering/Biomedical and Health category with “A Novel Hybrid Hydrogel-Preparation, Characterization, and Applications.”
Natalie Ferguson from WBHS entered her project, “Fretting Over My Nails,” in the Chemistry division. She studied the durability of different nail polishes by testing their endurance while playing the guitar
Eden Harilla from WBHS won first place in the Earth and Environmental Sciences division with “Can It Grow?” which investigated the effects of smoke exposure on plants.
WBHS senior Brennan Greene won first place in the Engineering Mechanics division for his project “Assistive/Universal Walk-in Bathtub Door Opener.” He also attends the Burton Center for Arts and Technology and completed the project with fellow BCAT student Austin Meadows.
Madelyn Nance from WBHS won third place in the Microbiology division with “Finding the Ideal pH to Most Effectively Lyse E.coli Colonies.” Studies such as this are meant to help discover safer and more affordable treatment options for victims of E. coli infections around the world.
Meagan Webb from William Byrd also entered the Microbiology category with “A Study of Bacteria on Cell-phones and Its Relation to Cell-phone Care and Use.”
Kavya Ayer from WBHS won first place in the Physics and Astronomy division with a project entitled “Vertical Ground Reaction Forces During Landing (A Systematic Review and Mathematical Modeling.”
Logan Drunkenburger, Rachel Benson, and Abigail Ingram who attend the Roanoke Valley Governor’s School won third place in the Robotics and Intelligent Machines Embedded Systems category with their project “The Programming Techniques of a Mobile Robot to Complete Tasks.” Ingram is a William Byrd student.
The county fair gets underway each year at WBMS with students registering and setting up their projects in the school gymnasium early in the morning. Projects this year were evaluated by almost 50 judges from universities, government agencies, and local companies, who also interview the students.
Once the judging process was completed, the public was invited to view the projects for about an hour and then prizes and awards were presented in each division separately for middle school and high school students.
About 30 science projects from grades 9-12 and 15 middle school projects advance to the Western Virginia Regional Science Fair on March 4, which will be held at Hollins University. Winners there may go on to the International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles in May.
Sponsors who made the Roanoke County Science Fair possible and provided prizes were, Aztec Rentals, the Vinton Bojangles’, Corrugated Container Corporation, Davenport & Co. LLC, Famous Anthony’s, Hanging Rock Golf Club, the Orange Avenue Hardee’s, Hart Motor Co., Krispy Kreme Donuts, the Vinton McDonald’s, Opera Roanoke, Pepsi Cola of Roanoke, the Salem Red Sox, the Science Museum of Western Virginia, The Roanoker Restaurant, the Western Virginia Water Authority, Wet ’n Wild Emerald Pointe, and Wheelock & Johnson Orthodontics.
More photographs from the Roanoke County Science Fair are posted on The Vinton Messenger Facebook page and in the Photo Gallery on the Roanoke County Schools website at www.rcs.k12.va.us.