WCU Science Fair announces winners

Warren LeMay of Cullowhee Valley listens to WCU’s judge, associate professor Brian Kloeppel's comments on his project "Don't let it go to Waste!" during the Science Fair at Western Carolina University on Thursday.

Warren LeMay of Cullowhee Valley listens to WCU’s judge, associate professor Brian Kloeppel’s comments on his project “Don’t let it go to Waste!” during the Science Fair at Western Carolina University on Thursday.

Students from several Western North Carolina school systems recently took top honors at Western Carolina University’s annual Western Regional Science Fair and are on their way to the state competition in March.

Six hundred students attended, with more than 200 students from 16 counties competing at the annual two-day event sponsored by WCU, held at the Ramsey Regional Activity Center. Students in the elementary division, grades three through five, presented on Feb. 18 and older students, grades six through 12, presented on Feb. 19.

“We were extremely pleased with the large number of entries this year, and especially the quality of the projects,” said Kefyn Catley, science fair director and WCU associate professor of biology. “In particular there was an encouraging increase in the number of students investigating green-themed projects concerned with today’s very real issues of pollution and energy and water conservation.”

The first- and second-place students, as well as the eight elementary division winners, have the chance to compete at the 22nd Annual N.C. Science and Engineering Fair on Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28, at Meredith College in Raleigh.

ELEMENTARY DIVISION (Grades three-five)

First, Taylor Tipton, The Mountain Community School, “Save that Water!” Second, Ian Crews, The Mountain Community School, “Xylem: The Plant Pipeline.” Third, Alexandra McNeely, T.C. Henderson Elementary, “Up, Up and a Down.” Honorable mentions: Madeleine Hatch, The Mountain Community School, “What Goes Up Must Come Down, But How Fast?”; Evan Grant, Cullowhee Valley School, “What is the Effect of Blade Pitch on Wind Turbine Performance?”; Cade Brinkley, Rosman Elementary School, “The Tale of William Tell”; Kohner Miller, Rosman Elementary School, “Egg-ceptional Tooth Whiteners”; Evan Cox, Blue Ridge Academy, “Mouthwash Effectiveness.”

JUNIOR DIVISION (Grades six-eight)

Junior Biological Science – First, Brandy Wightman, Waynesville Middle School, “Help the Hemlocks.” Second, Evan Deweese, Murphy Middle School, “Soaking Up Waves.” Third, Eleanor Palmer, The Mountain Community School, “They’re Back – Tracking the 2008 Emergence of Seventeen-Year Cicadas.” Honorable mentions: Brandon Gee and Noah Tittle, The Mountain Community School, “Auditory vs. Kinesthetic vs. Visual Memory”; Noelle Lee, Asheville Middle School, “The Effect of Temperature on the Gas Production of Yeast.”

Junior Earth/Environmental Science – First, Sabrina Coulter, Waynesville Middle School, “Run, Water, Run.” Second, Silas Crews, The Mountain Community School, “Acid Precipitation at Different Elevations.” Third, Jose Vera, Waynesville Middle School, “Toxic or Clean Water.” Honorable mentions: Jon Miller, Ridgetop Academy, “Drinking Water?”; Meredith Tooley, Brevard Middle School, “Soil Impediment.”

Junior Physical Science – First, Jenna Silver, Glenwood Elementary School, “Tee Time.” Second, Brock Helton, East Rutherford Middle School, “Does the Flash Wear Heavy or Light Shoes?” Third, Bryson Smith, East Rutherford Middle School, “Strength of Wood.” Honorable mentions: Emily Miller, Smokey Mountain Elementary School, “Got Gas?”; Robbie Luther and Carson Chet, The Mountain Community School, “Fuel of the Future.”

Junior Technology/Engineering – First, Erik Myers, Fairview Elementary School, “Hook, Line and Sinker.” Second, Hunter Trombetta, The Mountain Community School, “Solar Activity and the Ionosphere.” Third, Daniel Taylor and Joshua Tourtellotte, Brevard Middle School, “Hydrogen vs. Fossil Fuel.” Honorable mentions: Duncan LeMay, Cullowhee Valley School, “The Light in the Attic”; Aidan McKinney, Francine Delaney New School for Children, “Will the Wind Speed in an Average Downtown Corridor Exceed That of an Average Wind Turbine Area?”

SENIOR DIVISION (Grades nine-12)

Senior Biological Science – Kathryn Wells, Hendersonville High School, “Osmo-What?” Second, Mikaela Howell, Tuscola High School, “Red Light/Green Light.” Third, Caleb Oates, Hendersonville High School, “Do X-rays Affect Plant Growth?” Honorable mentions: Laura Cope, Tuscola High School, “Teeth Stain”; Wesley Albrecht, Tuscola High School, “Freezing Lady Bugs.”

Senior Earth/Environmental Science – First, Sally Dixon, Tuscola High School, “Black Hole.” Second, Cassie Ledford, Tuscola High School, “Stain Test.” Third, Maria Quintero, Tuscola High School, “Crowded Beans.”

Senior Physical Science – Donald Butler, Tuscola High School, “Pop Bottles.” Second, Jessica Luisi, Tuscola High School, “Reverse Micelle Synthesis.” Third, Tyler Matthews, Hendersonville High School, “Index of Refraction.” Honorable mentions: Lilly Rolfe, Hendersonville High School, “Which Citrus Fruit Produces the Most Electricity?”; Karissa Stamey, Tuscola High School, “I Spy.”

Senior Technology/Engineering – First, Kyle Decker, Hendersonville High School, “Paper Plane Dynamics.” Second, Olivia Palmer, Hendersonville High School, “Up, Up and Away.” Third, Lauren Lankford, Tuscola High School, “Golden Eagle.” Honorable mention: Joshua Fernandez, Tuscola High School, “Wind Power”; Ernest Hill, Tuscola High School, “The Stroop Effect.”

Senior Team Project – First, John Burrows, Brooke Burrows and Matt Travers, Brevard High School, “Detection of Batrachochytrium Dendrobatidis in Salamander Populations of Transylvania County.”

For more information about the WCU Western Regional Science Fair, visit http://sciencefair.wcu.edu or contact Kefyn Catley at kcatley@wcu.edu.