Cindy Bither
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High School Scientists Compete in Science Fair at VMI

FullTextImage/img/@altExhibits are on display at the Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair in VMI's Cameron Hall. -- VMI Photo by H. Lockwood McLaughlin.

LEXINGTON, Va., April1, 2014 – More than 250 high school scientists from 78 schools across the commonwealth competed at the 2014 Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair at VMI’s Cameron Hall last Saturday.

“This is the second year VMI has hosted the Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair,” noted retired Air Force Col. David A. Miller, interim director of the VMI Center for Leadership and Ethics, which coordinated the event. “We are proud to help so many young scientists advance their research. We hope many will one day lead our nation not only in science, technology, engineering, and math, but in all of the spheres that depend on the knowledge, skills, and abilities gained and honed in these areas.”

Manotri Chaubal of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria won the Governor’s Award and Grand Prize, presented by Virginia Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson, for the project, “Reprogramming Hair Follicle Stem Cells into Cardiomyocytes.”

Second grand prize winner was Julia Hager, representing Southwest Virginia’s Governor’s School in Pulaski, for “The Removal of Copper Sulfate from Water Using Saccaromyces Cerevisiae.” Third grand prize winner was Matthew Park of the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology for “Approaching Anti-Viral Therapeutics via Sequence Analysis of Nucleoprotein and Glycogen Precursor Proteins of Lassa Virus.”

These projects qualified for entry in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, to be held May 11-16 in Los Angeles, Calif.

The Merck VSSEF Rising Star Award, a cash prize of $500 awarded to a scientist in grades nine through 11, was given to Nayla Labban of Mills E. Godwin High School in Richmond for “The Effect of Nerve Growth Factor on the Cardiac Regeneration of Zebrafish.”

“We considered last year’s fair a huge success and this year’s even more so,” noted Cmdr. Daniel Joseph ’91, associate professor of applied mathematics and director of the fair. “We are looking forward to next year.”

The 30th annual Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair will take place at VMI March 27-28, 2015.

Photos are available at the VMI Photo Store.