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Virginia Tech National Capital Region participates in judging at local science and engineering fairs and sponsors Best Project Awards

Science Fair Virginia Tech judges at Northern Virginia Science and Engineering Fair

March is a busy month for budding scientists and engineers in the National Capital Region (NCR) and for the third consecutive year, Virginia Tech NCR faculty, research staff, and Ph.D. students volunteered to judge projects at two regional science and engineering fairs. Grand prize winners at these regional fairs will go on to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May in Los Angeles.

At both the Northern Virginia Regional Science and Engineering Fair (March 4) – which covers Arlington County and the City of Alexandria – and Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair (March 18), Virginia Tech NCR also sponsored four Best Project Awards in categories aligned with the university’s focus areas in the region. This recognition includes a monetary prize of $150 for each winning project.

Volunteer judges from Virginia Tech NCR included:

  • Seth Andrews -- graduate research assistant, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Kaveh Bakhshkelarestaghi -- Ph.D. student, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Transportation Infrastructure and Systems Engineering
  • Tam Chantem -- assistant professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Lulu Chen -- graduate research assistant, Computational Bioinformatics and Bio-imaging Laboratory
  • Dave Higdon -- professor, Social and Decision Analytics Laboratory
  • Brian Goode – research scientist, Discovery Analytics Center
  • Gizem Korkmaz -- research assistant professor, Social and Decision Analytics Laboratory
  • Joe Mitola -- director, Information Systems Laboratory, Hume Center
  • Rizwan Mohammad -- visiting researcher, Advanced Research Institute
  • Randall Murch -- research leader for biosecurity and forensics, National Capital Region Research and Development Team
  • Aditya Nugur -- graduate research assistant, Advanced Research Institute
  • Sanjay Raman -- associate vice president for the National Capital Region
  • Sneharaj Ramdaspalli -- graduate research assistant, Advanced Research Institute
  • Aaron Schroeder -- research scientist, Social and Decision Analytics Laboratory
  • Susan Sterett – professor, Center for Public Administration and Policy, School of Public and International Affairs
  • Thaison Nguyen -- research analyst, Virginia Tech Advanced Research Corporation
  • Kenneth Wong -- associate dean, Virginia Tech Graduate School, National Capital Region

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

The following entries won the Virginia Tech Best Project Awards at the Northern Virginia Science and Engineering Fair held at Wakefield High School in Arlington:

    ▻ Behavioral and Social Sciences (Tie): Mia Humphrey, George Washington Middle School, “The Evolution of Dynamics and Loudness Range in Popular Songs from 1960 to 2009;” and Jacob Hall, H-B Woodlawn High School, “The Effect of Highway Font Type on the Readability of Text Under Blurred Conditions

    ▻ Biomedical and Health Sciences: Sarah Lambert, Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School, “Saving Lives for Pennies: Determining the Optimal Thickness of Polybatting for Filtering VOCs Produced by a Biomass Fire”

    ▻ Engineering/ Mathematics and Computer Science (Tie): Radu Teodorescu, Yorktown High School, “The Development of a Semi-Autonomous Assistive Raspberry Pi Robot;” and Caroline Cunningham, Washington-Lee High School, “The Effect of One Section of the Influenza Vaccine's Accuracy on the Overall Vaccine Effectiveness”

    ▻ Earth and Environmental Sciences: Skylar Brodowski, Washington-Lee High School, “Long-term and short-term effects of NASA rocket launches on groundwater contamination around Virginia's Eastern Shore”

Best Project Award winners at the Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair held at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax were:

    ▻ Behavioral and Social Sciences/Computational Biology and Bioinformatics/Mathematics: Sujay Ratna and Katherine Du, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, “Classifying and Predicting Antimicrobial Peptides via Machine Learning”

    ▻ Energy/Physical/Environmental Engineering: Tulsi Mehta and Shreya Jain, Marshall High School, “The Effect of Mass (kg) and Frequency (st/min) on Energy Harvested”

    ▻ Engineering Mechanics: William Makinen, West Potomac High School, “Real-Time 3D Printing Error Correction and Detection”

    ▻ Systems Software/Robotics & Intelligent Machines/Embedded Systems: William Xu, Eric Wang, and Suhas Sastry, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, “Hardware Module-based Message Authentication in Intra-Vehicle Networks”

“Nurturing young scientists and engineers is imperative to future discovery and innovation, and is a key element of our outreach mission in the NCR,” said Raman, who served as a judge at the first fair. “The students we meet at these regional fairs demonstrate knowledge and capabilities in science and technology well beyond their years. Virginia Tech welcomes the opportunity to recognize their achievements.”

Posted March 22, 2017