Andrew Lomax, a freshman at East Bladen High School, was the grand prize winner at the Region IV Science Fair on February 23 at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Overall winner Andrew Lomax of East Bladen High School
The 26th annual Science Fair was sponsored by Progress Energy with additional prizes provided by McDonald’s Restaurants, Lumbee River Electric Membership Cooperative, U.S. Navy, NC State University and UNCP.
Lomax topped all entrants with his project on “Bioremediation: Fast, Cheap and Effective.” He won a scholarship to UNCP for $1,000.
“My project is about cleaning up animal life and the environment after a toxic spill,” Lomax said. “I used microorganisms and it really works.”
As nervous parents paced in the lobby outside the gym in the English E. Jones Athletic Center, Lomax and 200 contestants and their projects were put to the test in interviews with judges from UNCP and Fayetteville State University.
It can be an unnerving process, admitted Marcus Pierce of West Bladen High School.
“I was really nervous to be in front of important people like that,” Pierce said. “They were really tough.”
Charlotte Tatum, who with her West Bladen teammate, Courtney Hudson, worked more than a year on their project testing the effects of music on tomato plants. She said she was well prepared.
“We do a lot of communications activities in my club (Future Farmers of America),” Tatum said. “I have to give a big speech to about 400 people next month.”
The judges offered scientific advice too, said Hillary Gunter, who with West Bladen teammate McKenzie Winebarger, entered a project called “Breaking Loose the Juice.”
On February 23 UNCP hosted the Region IV Science Fair for the 26th consecutive year. Faculty volunteered as judges. Pictured here from right are: Drs. Maria Santisteban and Lisa Kelly, both of the Biology Department and East Bladen High School contestant Shelby Stewart.
“The judges asked us about our procedure and why we chose the subject,” Gunter said. “They suggested how we could have taken the project further.”
Co-coordinators of the 2008 Science Fair were UNCP science professors Drs. Tim Ritter and Jose D’Arruda, who founded the Science Fair at UNCP in 1982. Dr. D’Arruda offered advice to the contestants.
“If you did not win today, it’s not a problem – work harder,” he said. “Some of the best projects are developed over several years.”
Science Fair projects evolve with current events in science. Topics this year included carbon footprints, water desalination, wind turbines, honey bees and polluted air inside school buses.
“Doing scientific research in this way is good for students in more ways than one,” Dr. D’Arruda. “These are the things that the best colleges look for in their applicants.”
Elementary Division Winners – Tyler Partridge - Irwin Intermediate,Emily Scott - Elizabethtown Primary, Regina Vanderbruegge – Home School, Christopher Ezzelle - College Lakes, Eugenie Krishna Rathod - J.W. McLauchlin, Joseph Frevola – Scurlock, Cameron Bellian - Vanstory Hills and Tyler Prince - Academy Heights. These students advance to state competition.
Elementary Honorable Mention – Nicholas Hogan - St. Patrick's School, Daniel Carroll - Bladen Lakes Primary, Morgan Sampson - Pembroke Elementary, Logan Alphin - Armstrong Elementary, Gavin Pugh- Manchester Elementary, Matthew McClure – Parkton, Meghan McCrimmins - Rockfish-Hoke Elementary and Blair Robinson - Star-Biscoe Elementary
Junior Biology – 1st placeDariane Davis- Overhills Middle, 2nd Olivia Warren - Clarkton School of Discovery andLukas Warren - Clarkton School of Discovery,3rd place Ashley McCraney - East Hoke Middle and 4thMichael Frazer - West Pine Middle
Junior Physical Science – 1st placeNivesh Varma - Harnett Central Middle, 2nd Zane Singletary - Bladenboro Middle and Ethan Jordan - Bladenboro Middle, 3rd Jamie Staton - Irwin Intermediate School and 4thAlexander DiRuzza - Irwin Intermediate
Junior Earth Science - 1st placeRandy McNeill - Western Harnett Middle, 2nd Greg Majeski - Clarkton School of Discovery, 3rdMadeline Milholland - Spring Hill Middle,and 4thCallie Boone - West Pine Middle andAbigail Synder - West Pine Middle
Junior Technology & Engineering - 1st placeRobert Kinlaw - Clarkton School of Discovery, 2ndBailey Porter - St. Patrick's,3rdHaley Edwards -West Lee Middle and 4th Olivia Hernandez - West Pine Middle
Senior Biology – Shelby Stewart - East Bladen and Angela Cormack - West Bladen
Senior Physical Science – Casandra Hadad - Union Pines andDeshawn Ballard -West Bladen High School
Senior Earth Science - 1st placeAndrew Lomax - East Bladen and 2ndMarcus Pierce - West Bladen
Team Division Winners – 1st place Courtney Hudson - West Bladen and Charlotte Tatum - West Bladen and 2nd placeHillary Gunter - West Bladen MacKenzie Winebarger - West Bladen
Junior U.S. Navy Award –David Garavito - East Hoke Middle, Diana Gonzalez - Clarkton School of Discovery, Christian Ryckeley - Clarkton School of Discovery, Varma Nivesh - Harnett Central Middle and Greg Majeski - Clarkton School of Discovery
Senior U.S. Navy Award – Marcus Pierce - West Bladen,Casandra Hadad - Union Pines High School and Shelby Stewart - East Bladen High,
McDonald’s Award - Molly High - Clarkton School of Discovery
Lumbee River Electric Membership Award – Matthew Allen - Clarkton School of Discovery,Stuart Fox - Clarkton School of Discovery,Marcus Thompson - West Middle Biotech, Andrew Noyes- Longhill Elementary, Garrett Franzoni - St. Patrick’s, and Jessica Jones – Peterson Elementary
NC State Veterinary School Award - Gabrielle Mock - St. Patrick's
Overall Winner - Andrew Lomax - East Bladen High School