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March 12, 2019

Six county students advance to state science fair

Contributed photo
Students who qualified for the 2019 state science and engineering fair: John Tocheny, Laura Thompson, Nick Goudeau, Lauren Petty, Helen Lohr and Nathaniel Ribeiro.
First Place winner Laura Thompson, a junior at Mountain Vista Governor’s School, receives her award from District Fair Director Kara Reffitt.
Three Mountain Vista Governor’s School students and one Fauquier High School student took top honors and cash prizes at the sixth annual senior division of the Fauquier Regional Science & Engineering Fair on Saturday, March 2.

The high school students competed for $1,200 in cash prizes. Ninth- through 12th-graders won competitions in their schools to qualify for the countywide science fair in the Fauquier High School cafeteria.

Judges critiqued projects on topics ranging from health to environmental sciences, physics, engineering, math, animals and plants.

Nineteen high school competitors from Fauquier public schools and one private school, Wakefield, exhibited projects at the senior division.

Senior division (grades 9-12) top projects:

• First place, $500, Laura Thompson, junior, Mountain Vista Governor’s School, “The Effect of a Genetic Algorithm on Traffic Efficiency.”

• Second place, $350, Lauren Petty, junior, Mountain Vista Governor’s School, “An Epidemiological Approach to Studying the Flu.”

• Third place, $200, Helen Lohr, junior, Mountain Vista Governor’s School, “Strength of #2 HB Woodcase Style Pencils’ Graphite.”

• Honorable Mention, $150, Nathaniel Ribeiro, 9th grader, Fauquier High School, “The Iron Chef System: Making Your Kitchen Safer One Byte at a Time.”

As the top senior division prize winner, Laura Thompson will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to compete at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Ariz. from May 12-17.

This year two new directors coordinated the fair: Regional Fair Director, Erica Deane from Highland School and District Fair Director Kara Reffitt from Kettle Run High School.

In addition to the four top winners in the senior division, two other projects were selected to advance to the Virginia State Science & Engineering Fair competition in Roanoke on April 6.

• Nick Goudeau, junior, MVGS, “The Effect of Companion Plant Species on the Mass of Fruit Produced by Solanum Lycopersicum var. Cerasiforme.”

• John Tocheny, junior, Liberty High School, “Winning the World Series: A Numbers Game.”

Private donors and community businesses provided sponsorships starting at $150 per student to cover the registration costs of the Virginia State Science & Engineering Fair (VSSEF), travel, lodging and meals for these students who will compete at VSSEF with over 250 high school students throughout the Commonwealth.

Core sponsors providing cash prizes for this year’s regional fair were Linda and John Suter, the Patricia and David Vos Foundation, Fauquier Excellence in Education Foundation, and Fauquier County Public Schools.

In addition to the science and engineering fair winners, a number of other awards were presented:

• ASM Materials Education Foundation Award: Daniel Otten, KRHS/MVGS 11th grader, “Saving Space and Resources by Engineering Foldable Origami Structures.”

• Association for Women Geoscientists Award: Gwendolyn Verity, MVGS 11th grader, “The Effects of Cohesive and Flow Properties of Soils on Natural Disasters.”

• Intel Excellence Computer Science Award: Laura Thompson.

• Mu Alpha Theta National Mathematics Honor Society Award: Brigham Stacey, KRHS/MVGS 11th grader, “The Effect of Violin Bow Material on the Harmonics Produced.”

• NASA Earth System Science Award: Claire Duckworth, MVGS 11th grader for, The Effect of Seagrasses on Ocean Acidification.”

• NOAA Taking the Pulse of the Planet Award: Claire Duckworth.

• U.S. Air Force Award: Daniel Otten.

• U.S. Air Force Award: Laura Thompson.

• U.S. Office of Naval Research Naval Science Award: Sophia Hernandez, MVGS 11th grader, “The Effect of Red Bull Consumption on the Lifespan of Drosophila melanogaster.”

• U.S. Office of Naval Research Naval Science Award: Seth Patterson, MVGS 11th grader, “The Effect of Instruction Set on Code Size, Instruction Count, and Average Deleted Symbols and its Relation to Direct-Mapped Caching.”

• Virginia Dental Association Certificate of Merit: Lauren Petty.

• Virginia Dental Association Grand Prize Award: Savannah Snider, FHS 11th grader, “An Onion a Day.”

• Yale Science and Engineering Association, Inc. Award: Laura Thompson.

The Junior Division (6th-8th grade) Regional Science Fair will be held on Saturday, March 16 at Fauquier High School, along with a host a vendor fair from many local businesses.

The vendor fair will run from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Public viewing of projects will occur from 1 to 2 p.m. and will be followed by the awards presentations. The top ten winners from the Junior Division will qualify to apply for the Broadcom Masters competition. Several special awards will also be available for students to win.

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