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Virginia Tech National Capital Region sends judges to local science and engineering fairs, sponsors Best Projects Awards in focus fields

Virginia Tech judges at Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair Virginia Tech judges at Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Virginia Tech National Capital Region faculty, research associates, and Ph.D. students volunteered their time on Saturday, March 12, to judge middle and high school projects at the Northern Virginia Regional Science and Engineering Fair and Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

At each event, Virginia Tech also sponsored three Best Project Awards, going to students exhibiting in categories aligned with the university’s research focus in the National Capital Region. Each winner receives a certificate and monetary prize of $150.

This is the second consecutive year that Virginia Tech has participated in these events.

Serving as judges for the 2016 fairs were:

      ▸ Lulu Chen, doctoral student, Computer Science
      Brian Goode, research scientist, Discovery Analytics Center
      Dave Higdon, professor, Social and Decision Analytics Lab, Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech
      ▸ Kaveh B. Kelarestaghi, doctoral student, Smart Urban Mobility Laboratory
      ▸ Majid Khalilikhah, research assistant, Transportation Engineering
      Gizem Korkmaz, research assistant professor, Social and Decision Analytics Lab, Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech
      Sanjay Raman, associate vice president, National Capital Region, and professor, electrical and computer engineering
      Susan Sterett, director, Metropolitan Institute, and professor, Center for Public Administration and Policy
      ▸ Reginald Viray, research associate, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
      ▸ Ning Zhang, doctoral student, Computer Science and Application

Best Project Award winners among the middle and high school students who entered the Northern Virginia Science and Engineering Fair at Wakefield High School in Arlington were:

      ▸ Behavioral and Social Sciences: Christopher Adams, Washington-Lee High School, “The Effect of Science Fair Engagement in Middle School Curriculum on Science Standards of Learning Pass Rates”
      ▸ Engineering/Computer Science: Addison Phelps, Williamsburg Middle School, “The Effect of Dielectrics on Plasma Actuator Performance”
      ▸ Environmental Sciences: Bilguunzaya Battogtokh, Yorktown High School, “Photodegradation of Organic Dyes through Improved Catalysis Across a Graphene Oxide-Doped Titanium Dioxide Substrate”

About 650 high school students presented 440 projects at the Fairfax County Regional Fair held at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, Virginia. The Virginia Tech-sponsored Best Project Award winners were:

      ▸ Behavioral and Social Sciences/ Computational Biology and Bioinformatics: Julian Vallyeason, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, “Role of Sensory Signals in Dominance Hierarchies in Crayfish”
      ▸ Embedded Systems/Systems Software/Robotics and Intelligent Machines: Chloe Baker, Lake Braddock Secondary School, “User Authentication Based on Gait Analysis”
      ▸ Energy: Physical/Engineering Mechanics: Joshua Buontempo, Lake Braddock Secondary School, “The Hovercraft Project”

“The creativity and innovation these young people show in developing their exhibits is amazing,” said Sanjay Raman, associate vice president of the National Capital Region. “They have a grasp of science and technology well beyond their years; they are our best and brightest and we are proud to be able to play a role in recognizing their achievements.”

Grand prize winners at these fairs go on to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Raman said.

Posted March 18, 2016