UNCP hosted Region IV Science and Technology Fair


“According to my analysis, I am predicting another weather event that may produce snow around the first of March,” said Eric Webb. A high school senior, Webb was an entrant in the annual Region IV Science and Technology Fair hosted on February 22 at UNC Pembroke and sponsored in part by a grant from Duke Energy.

The Science Fair drew 144 competitors from public schools across the region in a day-long event. At the awards ceremony, a fourth grader became the first elementary school entrant to win top honors. Kaitlyn Zuravel of Vanstory Elementary School in Fayetteville entered with a project titled “Do April Showers Really Bring May Flowers.”

A student at Jack Britt High School in Fayetteville, Webb’s ideas on the weather and his project, titled “Madden Julian Oscillation & the Atlantic Hurricane Season, drew an audience of scientists, including Dr. Martin Farley, chair of UNCP’s Geography and Geology Department. Dr. Farley, a veteran Science Fair judge, called the project a “must-see.”

“His research on the weather is quite outstanding, but I have seen many outstanding projects today,” Dr. Farley said. “Some of them are on important societal problems like fracking, water pollution and the greenhouse effect.”

Standing in front of at least a dozen of maps and charts, Webb said the first snows in the region this winter caught him by surprise. “The weather has been my passion since I was very young.” he said. “It’s like an unexplored frontier.”

Webb won best project in the Earth Science Division and several other special awards. He and other winners will move on to state competition.

The frontiers of science were explored by some passionate young students, who produced some very creative projects. Christian Bernier of Anne Chestnut Middle School in Fayetteville combined electrical engineering with archeology to build a “Bagdad battery’ using copper and iron plates with lemon juice as the electrolyte.

“From ancient writings, they know that ancient people knew something about electricity,” Bernier said. “It’s possible they lighted the pyramids using this kind of battery that used grape juice.”

Berneir won the McDonald’s Award and the Chemistry and Physics Department Award.

Gavri Patel of Stoney Point Elementary School in Fayetteville won an honorable mention award  for her project that judged the germination times 13 kinds of beans. “I’m a vegetarian, so I’m interested in beans because they are a good source of protein,” she said. “I learned the larger the bean the longer it takes to sprout.”

Brina Peters, who was one of eight elementary school division winners who will advance to the state Science Fair, enlisted the help of Fort Bragg’s finest to study the effects of caffeine on heart rate. “I got volunteers from my father’s men,” said Peters who attends Highland Elementary School in Harnett County. “My hypothesis was correct. With four or more sodas a day, heart rates go up. No, I don’t drink a lot of soda.”

Science and Technology Fair coordinator Dr. Tim Ritter thanked Duke Energy and other sponsors for their support. “With support from Duke we were able to bring the Mr. Wizard show and the planetarium program,” he said. “I understand they were high quality shows.”

David McNeill, Duke Energy’s district manager for community relations, attended the event and toured the projects. “I was so impressed with the creativity and attention to detail that I saw,” McNeill said. “I was also impressed with the eagerness of these young scientists.”

“Duke is in the electricity business, but we support education and the growth and vitality of our communities,” he said.

There was a lot of energy in the room Saturday. Many adults like Kevin Rust, a Lumberton native and owner of several area McDonald’s Restaurants, remain connected with the Science Fair since they participated years ago. Rust provides a special award each year.

John Harbison annually presents a prize from the Air Force Association’s Pope Chapter. As a science teacher at Fayetteville Academy, his students won many prizes at the Science Fair.

Walter Patterson, a Lumberton native and first-year student at UNCP, gave out the Biochemistry Award. “I won the top award last year, and I’m studying in the Biochemistry Lab at UNCP this year,” Patterson told the students at parents at the awards ceremony. He is UNCP’s 2013-14 Farm Bureau Scholar.

For more information about the Region IV Science and Technology Fair, please contact Dr. Tim Ritter at (910) 521-6320 or email tim.ritter@uncp.edu.

Elementary Division

Honorable Mention from left: Victoria Cullipher, Old Dock Elementary; Samuel Parsons, Armstrong Elementary; Gracelyn Garrell, Williams Township; Sydney Bell, Peterson Elementary; Luke Matthews, Benhaven Elementary; Gauri Patel, Stoney Point Elementary; Molly Williams, Armstrong Elementary; Kayleigh Corella, J. W. McLauchlin Elementary;

Winners – (Advance to state Science Fair) from left: Kaitlyn Zuravel, Vanstory Hills; Elementary; William Duvall and Andrew Martin, Overhills Elementary; Lily Bass, Old Dock Elementary; Angelina Musson, Don D. Steed Elementary; Logan Holmes, Benhaven Elementary; Emily Mikkelsen, Loyd E. Auman Elementary; Brina Peters, Highland Elementary; Lauren Matlack and Avery Schenk, Vanstory Hills Elementary

Junior Biological Science A Division

pictured from left:

Honorable Mention - Layne Randolph and Kasey Genthe, Western Harnett Middle

3rd Place - Laila Mohamed, Al-Aqsa Academy

2nd Place - Hannah Sullivan, East Hoke Middle

1st Place - Noel Abellanosa, West Hoke Middle

Junior  Biological Science B Division

3rd Place - Jithmi Kulathunga, Sandy Grove Middle School

2nd Place - Madison Harding, East Hoke Middle

1st Place - Anna Hogue - Harnett Central Middle

Junior Chemistry Division

Honorable Mention - Alyson Strickland, East Hoke Middle

3rd Place - Zachary Burns, Western Harnett Middle

2nd Place - Nya Cooper, Sandy Grove Middle School

1st Place - Lauren Rhodes and Cassidie Edwards, Western Harnett Middle

Junior Earth/Environmental Science Division

3rd Place - Daniel Smith, Sandy Grove Middle School

2nd Place - Aidan Rucker, Western Harnett Middle

1st place - Hayden Smith - Harnett Central Middle

Junior Physics Division

Honorable Mention - Gavin Pennington

3rd Place - Nia Goodrich, Anne Chesnutt Middle

2nd Place - Rebecca Anderson, Ashley Blackmon, Harnett Central Middle

1st Place - Emily Corella, East Hoke Middle

Junior Technology/Engineering Division

Honorable Mention - Tajah Trapier, Anne Chesnutt Middle

3rd Place - Sina Siegel, East Hoke Middle

2nd Place - Soumya Varma, Harnett Central Middle

1st Place - Mara Yochim, Overhills Middle

Senior Biological Science B Division

1st Place - Anna Kahl and Summer Fleming, Christ the King Christian Academy

Senior - Earth/Environmental Science (Divisional)

1st Place - Eric Webb, Jack Britt High School

Pope Chapter Air Force Association Award

Junior Division ($50) - Mara Yochim, Overhills Middle

Office of Naval Research Junior Award ($50)

Soumya Varma, Harnett Central Middle and Mara Yochim, Overhills Middle

Navy Senior Award

Eric Webb, Jack Britt High School

Lumbee River Electric Membership Corporation Award ($50)

Anna Bryant, Alderman Road Elementary

Lumbee River EMC Junior Division ($50)

Tajah Trapier, Anne Chestnut Middle

Lumbee River EMC Senior Award ($50)

Eric Webb, Jack Britt High School

ComTech Biotech Award($200 cash)

Brina Peters, Highland Elementary

McDonald’s Award ($500 College Scholarship)

Christian Bernier, Anne Chesnutt Middle

Biology Department Award

Noel Abellanosa, West Hoke Middle and Anna Kahl & Summer Fleming, Christ the King Christian Academy

Chemistry & Physics Department Award($100 cash)

Christian Bernier, Anne Chestnut Middle; Sina Siegel, East Hoke Middle;Tajah Trapier, Anne Chesnutt Middle; Eric Webb, Jack Britt High School

Dr. Dalton Brooks Award ($100 cash)

Sina Siegel, East Hoke Middle

Grand Winner($2,000 UNCP Scholarship)

Kaitlyn Zuravel, Vanstory Hills Elementary