Loudoun’s top young researchers spent Thursday morning being questioned by waves of judges—more than 250 of them—as their projects were on display during the county’s the 38th annual Regional Science and Engineering Fair.
On Thursday night, they returned to Riverside High School in Lansdowne for an awards ceremony that included thousands of dollars in awards and scholarships to the best among a record participation of 324 students with 212 projects.
The program concluded with the announcement that Loudoun will be sending six students to the Intel International Engineering and Science Fair in Phoenix, AZ, in May.
Loudoun Valley High School’s Brian Minnick, who attends the Academies of Loudoun, was the top finalist in the Engineering Mechanics category for his project: the “Creation of an FDM 3D Printer Constructed Entirely of Parts Created with Additive Manufacturing Techniques.”
The team of Saarthak Maheshwari and Riley White from Stone Bridge won the Embedded Systems/Robotics and Intelligent Machines category for the project, “Deep Letters: A Convolutional Neural Network Long Short-term Memory (Cnnistm) Approach to Fingerspelling Translation.”
In the Biochemestry and Chemistry category, Zhiyuan Li of Freedom High School and Rohan Parikh of Riverside High School, both students at the Academy of Science, took the top prize for their project: “Developing Honey-Based Antibacterial Wound-Healing Agents by Integrating Glucose Oxidase Enhancement with Pectin Hydrogels.”
Madden Moore of Freedom High School and the Academy of Science was the top finalist in the Computational Biology and Bioinformatics category. His project was titled: “Identifying miR-331-3p as a Unique Blood-Based Biomarker for Lung Adenocarcinoma through Random Forest Classification.”
Another the other top awards presented Thursday was the Willowcroft Science Scholarship, presented by Willowcroft Farm Vineyards owner Lew Parker. The annual scholarship includes a $5,000 award to a student and a $5,000 award to a teacher. Sidney Meyer of Heritage High School and the Academies of Loudoun, was presented the student scholarship and her Academy of Science teacher Julie Sohl was presented the teacher award.
Those top winners were selected from among scores of projects that filled the high school’s gym. They ranged from Animal Sciences to Translational Medical Science, and include titles such as “Preventing Air Pollution Using the Electrocatalysis of TiO2,” “Convolutional Neural Network Models for Real-Time Seizure Forecasting,” “Creation of an FDM 3D Printer Constructed Entirely by Parts Created with Additive Manufacturing Techniques,” “The effect of pH on the tensile strength of electrospun poly(vinyl acetate) nanofibers,” “Using Test Data from Novels and Articles to Produce better Language Translations,” and “the Use of Shear-Thickening Fluid in the Development of Protective Anti-Ballistic Material for use on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.” Several focused on local issues, including “Investigation of Microplastics in Loudoun County Farms” and “Effects of Weather Patterns on the Distribution of Rockwool Factory Fallout.”