Seventeen research students from Oak Ridge High School competed in the 64th Annual Southern Appalachian Science and Engineering Fair hosted at the University of Tennessee. The competition was held April 4-7 with the awards ceremony on Thursday evening. There were 52 Senior Division projects in competition.
All 17 students are a part of either the Experimental Scientific Research, or ESR, course or Math, Science, and Computer Science Thesis course at ORHS. The ESR course is led by Sharon Thomas and Thesis is led by Tammy Carneim and Jessica Williams.
Gabe Vacaliuc earned first place for his project titled “dQCuts: Simplifying Molecular Dynamics Datasets Using Higher Order Statistical Signatures” under the mentorship of Arvind Ramanathan at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Along with a $1,000 scholarship and trophy, Vacaliuc will travel to Phoenix, Arizona, in May to compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair.
“SASEF was a great experience because I was able to get substantial feedback in a professional setting,” Vacaliuc said. “I’m so grateful to SASEF for the opportunity to represent my school at ISEF in May.”
Lauren Collier earned third place and $250 for her project titled “Characterization of PMOX-PDMS-PMOXA Interfaces in a CSI Setting” under the mentorship of Stephen Sarles.
Thomas Colburn, Albert Xue, and the team of Emma Milloway and Erin Mihealsick all earned fourth-place awards and $125.
Colburn’s project, “Enhanced Decomposition of Plastic Waste Through Photocatalysis,” was mentored by Todd Toops.
Xue’s project, “Modeling Viscous Fluid Pinch-off Through an Axisymmetric Galerkin Boundary Integral Formulation,” was mentored by Lenny Gray.
The project of Milloway and Mihealsick, “Thermal Unfolding of D141A pHLIP,” was mentored by Fransisco Barrera.
The team of Elisabeth Gallmeier and Chen Chen Zhang earned fifth place and $75 for their project titled “Combining PCA and PLS to Predict Extractability of Hydrocarbons from Shales,” which was done under the mentorship of Joanna McFarlane.
Tina Wang, mentored by Sergiy Kalnaus; Megan Peters and Melissa Yuan, mentored by Chad Steed; and David Senter and Simon Mason, mentored by Chris Symons, also competed and won various special awards for their projects. Bonnie Moon and Afton Russel, mentored by Sharon Thomas, and Adit Bhandari and Ian Lumsden, mentored by Lenny Gray, also competed.
In total, the students earned more than $3,500 in cash prizes for placement and special awards. Some students also won trips or the opportunity to compete with their project at other science fairs.
Alex Shanafield and Amelia Thomson represented Jefferson Middle School in the fair. Shanafield received several awards and placed fourth, and Thomson received honorable mention.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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