HHS students impress at science fair

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Advait Nene took first prize in the Hopkinton High School Science and Engineering Fair with his project, Patient Specific Delivery of Proton Beam Radiation. PHOTO/CHRISTINE STRICKLAND

Nearly 100 students who participated in the Hopkinton High School Science and Engineering Fair proved that learning does not end when the bell rings.

They used the knowledge they gained in their science classes to solve daily life problems and possibly change the world, from improving vision to bringing wind turbines to urban areas to potentially life-changing approaches to health conditions such as Huntington disease, cancer and anemia.

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“These students are going to do amazing things,” said Kristen Murphy, chemistry teacher and science fair director.

The fair, held Feb. 25,  was one of the largest in school history, with 85 students presenting 41 projects.

 That’s a significant increase from the 15 projects presented about five years ago, Murphy said.

 “There’s a very high level of interest,” she noted. “It’s grown tremendously.” 

Participants meet with mentors and work on their projects outside of class time. “It’s a very big undertaking for students who are already very busy,” Murphy said.

The students, in grades 9-12, choose their own topics. “They have a lot of say in what they present,” Murphy explained. “They all choose projects they are passionate about.” 

For Murphy, the most rewarding aspect is seeing the students translate concepts they have learned in class and using them to “answer a question they care about.”

This knowledge helps them develop 21st century skills.

“That’s the dream for a teacher,” she said.

Advait Nene took first prize overall with his project, Patient Specific Delivery of Proton Beam Radiation. Michael Youssef took second for his project, Advanced IR Imaging Software For Assisted Victim Detection in USAR. Third place went to Sahithi Pogula and Tanisha Rajgor for their project, Efficient Detection and Mitigation of Neurological Diseases using Machine Learning, ANN, and Regressional Models.

The following students’ projects also move on to the regional fair at WPI: Rohan Minocha (Distributed Systems for Emergency Prevention, Detection and Management), Fariha Fardin (The Effect of Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) on Tumor Growth in Planaria), Mantra Rajkumar (The Shell-met: Biomimicry for Impact Resistance), Alannah Miller and Alisa Stolyar (Let’s Yeet This Wheat: Removing Gluten From Fryer Oil), Elan Rosen and Shazain Khan (Engineering of Congenic Huntington Cell Line, and Further Applications), Neil Abraham, Brian Gu and Bharat Mekala (Urban Wind Turbines), Nathan Foster (Reducing Unnecessary Power Consumption of Computers), Archita Nemalikanti and Sreeja Bolla (NeoHb: A Noninvasive Optical Biosensor Diagnosing Neonatal Anemia), Albert Chen, Ryan Darbhanga and Jeffrey Wang (The Relationship Between Obesity and the Microbiome in C. Elegans), Simran Kaur and Kevin Gu (The Effects of Herbal Products on a Drosophila Model of Epilepsy), Kelly Teitel, Alopa Waje and Anne Zhu (Life in Plastic Ain’t So Fantastic), and Kira Sward, Celia Jenkins and Fiona Medeiros (Build Your Own Mayor: A Study on Confirmation Bias).

The 2020 Valerie Lechtanski Prize for Perseverance went to Deirdre Belger and Morgan Berenson (The Impacts of Light on Vitamin C in Drosophila).

HHS students (from left) Celia Jenkins, Fiona Medeiros and Kira Sward (face hidden) talk to attendee Carly Ozmun about their project, Build Your Own Mayor: A Study on Confirmation Bias, which was a regional qualifier.
PHOTO/CHRISTINE STRICKLAND

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