Annual WCU science fair announces winners

Above: Science fair participants Adam Marszalek and Amaya Kinch of The Learning Community School in Black Mountain explain their project “The Attraction of Traction” to Jeremy Hyman, a WCU biology professor.

Above: Science fair participants Adam Marszalek and Amaya Kinch of The Learning Community School in Black Mountain explain their project “The Attraction of Traction” to Jeremy Hyman, a WCU biology professor.

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

“We were delighted by the response, particularly from the elementary and middle schools,” said Kefyn Catley, science fair director and WCU associate professor of biology.

More then 200 students from 16 counties competed 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. 13 and older students, grades six through 12, presented on Feb. 14.

Award-winning students are listed, along with the name of their project and school. Eight overall winners were chosen from the elementary division, along with the first, second, and third place winners from the middle and high school division contest. The first- and second-place students, as well as the eight elementary division winners, have the chance to compete at the N.C. State Science Fair at Meredith College in Raleigh on March 25.


First, Eleanor Palmer, Mountain Community School, “These Hemlocks Have the Woolies.” Second, Jordan Torres, Rosman Elementary, “The Rotting Fry Race.” Third, Aidan Waldrum, Cullowhee Valley School, “Comparison of Solar Cookers.” Honorable Mentions: Meredith Tooley, Brevard Elementary School, “Refreshed Roses”; Abigail Williams, Pisgah Forest Elementary School, “What Am I Drinking?”; David Philyaw, Cullowhee Valley School, “Which Citrus Produces the Most Energy?”; Amaya Kinch and Adam Marszalek, The Learning Community School, “The Attraction of Traction”; and Elijah Robinson, Old Fort Elementary School, “How Does Sand and Salt Work?”


Junior Biological Science-First, Katie Grant, Cullowhee Valley School, “Does Color Affect Taste?” Second, Casey West, Enka Middle School, “Mealworm Locomotion.” Third, Alyssa Chet and Ana Unda, The Mountain Community School, “Caffeine Rush.”

Junior Earth/Environmental Science-First, Brian Miller, Enka Middle School, “Rainy Days.” Second, Jody Bettencourt and Erika Williams, Brevard Middle School, “Green Crete.” Third, Sarah Gudger, Hendersonville Middle School, “Paper + Soil = Biodegration.”

Junior Physical Science-First, Renee Provost and Anna Alexie Franklin, Fairview School of Jackson County, “Experimenting with Electromagnets.” Second, Rosa Fowler and Taylor Bailey, Marion Elementary School, “How Strong is Your Hair?” Third, Chris Maney and Aaron Christopher Brooks, Fairview School of Jackson County, “Cool Magnets.”

Junior Technology/Engineering-First, Andrew Jacober, Hendersonville Middle School, “Solar Cells in Action.” Second, Tyler Austin, Enka Middle School, “Heart Beat of Perfection.” Third, Jess Nichols, Brevard Middle School, “Resistance.”


Senior Biological Science-First, Edward Critikos, Hendersonville High School, “Does Music Affect Basic Vital Signs?” Second, Scott Dinsmore, Hendersonville High School, “Does Magnetism Affect Plant Growth?” Third, Chelsea Clendenin, Tuscola High School, “The Effect of Caffeine.”

Senior Earth/Environmental Science-First, Adam Calton, Hendersonville High School, “Heat Busters-Measuring Thermal Energy Transfer Through Alternate Materials.” Second, Martha Hall, Tea Rose Acres Christian Academy, “Construction of A ‘Green’ Filter System.” Third, Amber Arrington, Tuscola High School, “Coffee Crazy.”

Senior Physical Science-First, Shelby Welter, Hendersonville High School, “The Effects of Trace Impurities on Crystal Growth & Size.” Second, Justin Champion, Tuscola High School, “What a Drag!” Third, Zachary Stephens, Hendersonville High School, “Coke Tube Mania.”

Senior Technology/Engineering-First, Caitlin Noland, Tuscola High School, “Drip Dry.” Second, Jeremy Hollis, Hendersonville High School, “Explosive Combustion of Common Household Products” Third, Michael Keog, Tuscola High School, “Pinhole Photography.”

For more information about the WCU Regional Science Fair and Festival, contact Kefyn Catley at