List of winning projects announced from WCU’s science fair

Students from throughout Western North Carolina gathered at Western Carolina University recently to compete in the Western Regional Science and Engineering Fair. The theme for this year’s event was “Our State, Our Time, Our Science.”

Several hundred people attended the Feb. 10-11 fair, with 15 schools represented in the competition. A total of 216 students participated, and 49 students (first- and second-place winners in the junior and senior divisions, and all award winners and honorable mention winners in the elementary division) earned the right to continue on to the state science fair that will be held in Raleigh later this month. The panel of judges for the two days of competition included WCU faculty members and graduate students along with scientists from the area.

Each day of the event, faculty and students from WCU’s Department of Engineering and Technology gave morning presentations on their current projects and led discussions on developing technologies. The Fairview First LEGO League teams from Fairview Elementary School gave a demonstration on LEGO Robotics during the Feb. 11 morning session.

The winning students are listed, including placement, names of the students competing, the school represented and the name of the project:

ELEMENTARY DIVISION (Grades three-five)

First, Alex Haiss, Swain West Elementary, “Micrometazoa and Elevation.” Second, Conner Vess, Old Fort Elementary, “Getting to the Root of the Problem.” Third, Eli Stack and Ben Manka, Heritage Christian Academy, “A Battery That Makes Cents.” Honorable Mentions: Ben Davis and Eliza Davis, Marion Elementary, “Tampering with Time”; Tucker Watterson, Cullowhee Valley School, “When Set on Fire: What Type of Wood Oak or Pine or Poplar Will Raise the Temperature of Water to 100”; Emma Grace Palmer and Carolina Pope, Hendersonville Elementary School, “Chewing Gun to Concentrate”; Lillian Johnson, Hendersonville Elementary School, “Tasty Powers”; Kristen Cochran and Chloe Brown, Heritage Christian Academy, “Mysterious Magnets.”

JUNIOR DIVISION (Grades six-eight)

Junior Biological Science A – First, William David, Asheville Catholic School, “Where are the Eastern Box Turtles at the North Carolina Arboretum.” Second, Emma Dauster, Brevard Middle School, “The Impact of Controlled Burns on Terrestrial Tardigrade Populations in DuPoint State Forest.” Third, Carolina Condra, Avery Jackson and Lexi Sexton, Asheville Christian Academy, “How Low Can it Go?” Honorable Mentions: Lucie Patten, Tuscola High School, “Think Before You Drink”; Camden Shuman, Asheville Christian Academy, “To Prick or Not to Prick – That is the Question.”

Junior Biological Science B – First, Becky Pechmann, Lucy McRae and Sydney Rice, Cullowhee Valley School, “What Affects the Rate of Leaf Change?” Second, Clare Kennerly, Brevard Middle School, “Spoonerisms: A Study of Language.” Third, Evan Manfred, Asheville Catholic School, “Influences on Balance.” Honorable Mentions: Maddie Stillwell and Natalie Stuckey, Heritage Christian Academy, “Does the Cheese Fit the Mold”; Chloe Gilbert, Addi Moyers and Scout Green, Asheville Christian Academy, “Worthwhile Worms.”

Junior Chemistry – First, Carly Tabor, Brevard Middle School, “I’m Melting…Which Building Material Holds Up for the Effects of Acid Rain?” Second, Anna Long, Asheville Catholic School, “Laundry Woes.” Third, Chase Lizarralde, Asheville Christian Academy, “Rusty Nails.” Honorable Mentions: Sarah Robinson, East McDowell Middle School, “Everlasting Polish”; Emma Halfacre, Asheville Catholic School, “Can Taste Buds Detect MSG Levels?”

Junior Earth/Environmental Science – First, Fritz Ruppert, Brevard Middle School, “Are Our Water Woes Caused by Fertilization Foes?” Second, Olivia Ottinger and Ani Adams, Tuscola High School, “Un-till Exposed the Dirty Truth.” Third, Abigail Dayton, East McDowell Middle School, “Dig Deep.” Honorable Mentions: Bobby Brown, Brevard Middle School, “Year 2 of Biomonitoring for Benthic Macroinvertebrates: Assessing the Water Quality of the Davidson”; Abigail Hamilton, Asheville Catholic School, “Acid Rain Effect on Seashells.”

Junior Physics – First, Kylie Worley and Eda Royer, Brevard Middle School, “Which Cereal Will Absorb the Most Milk?” Second, Caroline Jones, Brevard Middle School, “Spinderella.” Third, Celia Sandoval, Asheville Catholic School, “Shine a Little Light on Time.” Honorable Mentions: Lilah Craig, The Learning Community, “The Heart is On”; Cole James, Dustin Stephens and Carson Frady, Cullowhee Valley School, “Swing Batter Batter Swing.”

Junior Technology/Engineering – First, Caleb Handy, Heritage Christian Academy, “Soaring and Exploring.” Second, Karis Borchelt and Stacey Gonzalez, Cullowhee Valley School, “Who Doesn’t Like Warm Feet?” Third, Boyd Allsbrook, Tuscola High School, “Music or Mayhem.” Honorable Mentions: Mackenzie Aldridge and Hannah Litty, Tuscola High School, “Texting, Talking and Technology: How Fast You React”; Avari Rector, West McDowell Middle School, “Determining What Angle the Leaning Tower of Pisa will Fall.”

SENIOR DIVISION (Grades nine-12)

Senior Biological Science A – First, Abby Williams and Carly Onnink, Brevard High School, “Electroantennogam Assays to Determine Megacopta Cribraria Response to E-2hexenal Tridecane.” Second, Hannah Smith, Swain County High School, “The Walking Dead: Termite Edition.” Third, Madison Travitz, Swain County High School, “Pitch Perfect.” Honorable Mentions: Scout Powell, Tuscola High School, “As the Egg Rolls”; Aaron Neumann, Ingrid Findlay and Hannah Lemel, Brevard High School, “Evaluation of Honey Bee Health in Transylvania County: An Assessment of Varroa Destructor and Nosem.”

Senior Biological Science B – First, Crista Cali and Sarah Branagan, Brevard High School, “The Search for Pityophthorus Juglandis and Associated Geosmithia Morbida in Transylvania County.” Second, Hannah Field and Ryan Holland, Brevard High School, “Screening Local Lignicolous Fungi for Lignin Degrading Enzymes.” Third, Connor Pressel and Megan Massie, Tuscola High School, “Fertilizing Flytraps.” Honorable Mentions: Shayna Dickerson, Swain County High School, “Got Crickets?”; Carver Nichols, Brevard High School, “Agrobacterium-Mediated Stable Transformation of Coleus X in Planta Using the Floral Dip Met.”

Senior Chemistry – First, Allison Melrose and Maura Wittkop, Tuscola High School, “The Rise of Bread.” Second, Joseph Roberts, Eliza Whitherspoon and Lauren Tooley, Brevard High School, “Evaluation of VOC Producing Diaporthe Species for Enzyme Production.” Third, Hannah Brooks, Tuscola High School, “Starch Your Engines.” Honorable Mention: Samuel Ross, Tuscola High School, “Radish Seeds in Space.”

Senior Earth/Environmental – First, Ryulee Park and Aidan Spradlin, Brevard High School, “Identification and Heavy Metal Remediation Potential of Fungi Isolated from Duke Energy’s 1964.” Second, Allison Reece and Lauren DuBreuil, Brevard High School, “The Effect of Antibiotics on the Mortality of the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (Adelges Tsugae).” Third, Lizzy Logan and Taylor Whitaker, Tuscola High School, “Our Footprints.” Honorable Mention: Sydney Turner, Tuscola High School, “Is the Straight and Narrow the Preferred Path?”

Senior Physics – First, Savannah Arnold and Madeline Ottinger, Tuscola High School, “Insane Insulation.” Second, Whitley Thomas and Catherine Patton, Tuscola High School, “Catching Fire.” Third, Zach Clemmons and Parker Hunt, Tuscola High School, “A Study on the Thermodynamic Influence on Conductivity in Which We Have Loads of Fun.”

Senior Technology/Engineering – First, Sam Lemel and Bryce Spradlin, Brevard High School, “Adapting Lamp Assay and Culturing Methods for use in Detecting Pseudoperonospora Humuli in Hops.” Second, Daniel Black, Community High School, “Physical Properties of Aerogel.”