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Region IV Science Fair at UNCP attracts record entries

March 11, 2009

A project that evaluated water quality behind a local dam won top prize at the 28th annual Region IV Science Fair on February 21 at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.


Anne Talkington, overall winner in the 2009 Region IV Science Fair poses with co-coordinators, Dr. Jose D’Arruda, left, and Dr. Tim Ritter.

Anne Talkington, a freshman at Massey Hill Classical High School in Fayetteville, N.C., knew that the damming of the waters of Little Rockfish Creek in 2008 to form the Hope Mills Lake presented a unique opportunity for science.

“I predicted that water quality would decline after construction of the Hope Mills Dam,” Talkington said. “It actually did get worse.”

Talkington subjected the water to a battery of tests, including nitrate and oxygen levels, pH, suspended solids, conductivity and invertebrates living in the water.

“Before damming, the water quality was rated as excellent,” she said. “I plan to continue testing in the future.”

“She really put in a lot of work on this project,” said Constance Russell, chair of Massey Hill’s Science Department. “We’re very proud, and I’m happy for her.”

The top prize was a $1,000 scholarship to UNCP should the winner choose to enroll. Winners are eligible for state competition.

The annual event attracted a record number of entries in elementary and junior competitions, said Dr. Tim Ritter, a UNCP faculty member and co-director of the event.

“The quality of entries was outstanding, and there were approximately 200 entries in the lower divisions,” Dr. Ritter said. “I hope that enthusiasm will carry forward into high school.”

Besides displaying their projects, entrants were interviewed by judges.

“The interview is my favorite part,” said Heather Walters, a judge and research assistant in UNCP’s new biotechnology lab. “These are very smart kids, and it’s fun to talk with them.”

Elementary Winners (go to state competition)

Mary Vorder Bruegge, Home School; Eugenie Vorder Bruegge, Home School; Derek Esterly, Gray’s Creek; Emily Scott, Elizabethtown Primary; Daniel Autry, Elizabethtown Middle; Kathryn Scott, Lillington-Shawtown Elementary School; Thomas Sutton, Page Street Elementary; and Skylar Clairborne, Bladen Lakes Primary.
Elementary Honorable Mention

Paul Adkins, Academy Heights; Lea Stewart, Angier Elementary; Samantha Padgett, Acme Delco Elementary; Kaylee Hall, Flora MacDonald; Krystal Wortham, Flora MacDonald (not pictured); Keileigh Haynes, Candor Elementary; Andrew Deaton, Star Elementary; McKenna Claffey, Long Hill Elementary; and Meredith Chappell, Green Ridge Elementary.
Junior Biology (top 3 go to state)

1st John Thomas, Clarkton School of Discovery; 2nd Natalie Hardin, Clarkton School of Discovery; 3rd Robert Kinlaw, Clarkton School of Discovery; and 4th Gwendolyn Buie, Red Springs Middle School.
Junior Physical Science

1st Stone Phillips, Spring Hill Middle School; 2nd Meredith Dickens, Western Harnett Middle; 2nd Jane McNeill, Western Harnett Middle; 3rd Cheyenne Ray, Overhills Middle School; and 4th Abby Norris, Clarkton School of Discovery.
Junior Earth Science

1st Ashima Varma, Harnett Central Middle; 2nd David McInnis, West Pine Middle; 3rd Molly High, Clarkton School of Discovery; and 4th Ben Rains, Clarkton School of Discovery.
Junior Technology & Engineering

1st Samitha Samarakoon, Spring Hill Middle; 2nd Nivesh Varma, Harnett Central Middle; 3rd Trevor Iacino, Overhills Middle; and 4th Gerisse Horne, East Hoke Middle.

Senior Biology

1st Ashley Thompson, Cornerstone Christian; 2nd Taylor Hardin, Cornerstone Christian; 3rd Veronica LeMere, Massey Hill Classical; and 4th Lauren DeBruler, Cornerstone Christian.
Senior Physical Science

1st Marcus Pierce, West Bladen High
Senior Earth Science

1st Anne Talkington, Massey Hill Classical; 2nd David Majeski, East Bladen High; 3rd Andrew Lomax, East Bladen High; and 4th Edgar Labra, West Bladen High.
Navy Award (senior)

Andrew Lomax, East Bladen High; Anne Talkington, Massey Hill Classical; and David Majeski, East Bladen High School.

Navy Award (junior)

Abby Norris, Clarkton School of Discovery; Gwendolyn Buie, Red Springs Middle; and Stone Phillips, Spring Hill Middle.
McDonald’s Award
Ashima Varma, Harnett Central Middle

Lumbee River Electric Membership Award

Lauren DeBruler, Cornerstone Christian; Molly High, Clarkton School of Discovery; and Derek Esterly, Gray’s Creek.
Biotechnology Award

Kelsey Hammond, Clarkton School of Discovery
NC State Veterinary Award

Paul Adkins, Academy Heights

Overall Winner

Anne Talkington, Massey Hill Classical