March 30, 2016 at 2:41 pm

OHIO Hosts Regional Science Fair

By Jean Andrews
Physics & Astronomy

Athens High School students First Place

L to R: The Athens High School team first place winners include Sylvie Wilson, Yu-Shiang Jeng, Harry Fetsch, Derek Demel, Ed Drabold, and Kate Dispenza. Not pictured: Shifra Narasimhan and Anru Tian Photo: Jean Andrews/Ohio University

Young Scientists Take Top Honors

Ohio University faculty and graduate students came together on a recent Saturday morning to share their passion for science with youth from Southeastern Ohio at the annual science fair.

Approximately 140 students in grades 5 through 12  showcased their independent research and competed for $10,000 in prizes at the 2016 Ohio District 12 Science Day and 38th Southeastern Ohio Regional Science and Engineering Fair, held in Clippinger Laboratories.

Students who received a superior rating at their local school science fair or academic fair participated in this regional fair. The event included participants from Athens, Gallia, Jackson, and Ross Counties.

This year students from the Athens High School team (with teacher Andrea Anderson) received the highest percentage of superior ratings in the Senior Division at the regional fair. The team was awarded a trophy and the school received $200 for science programming. Students from Zane Trace High School in Chillicothe placed second.

The top three schools in each Division (Senior, Junior and Elementary) received a trophy and $200 for science programming. The Junior Division first place went to Zane Trace Middle School, Chillicothe (with teachers Dennis Foreman, Brooke Detty, and Melissa Payton). Unioto Elementary School in Chillicothe (with teacher Jennifer Domo) won first place in the Elementary Division.

Yu Shiang Jeng with Science Fair organizers

Drs. Elizabeth Gierlowski-Kordesch and Mark Lucas congratulate top winner Yu-Shiang Jeng Photo: Jean Andrews/Ohio University

Athens High School tenth-grader Yu-Shiang Jeng was awarded top honors for his project, ‘Password Proximity Algorithm’. The goal of his project was to development an algorithm for computers and mobile devices to recognize brute force attackers while also providing accountability for minor typos. The judges were impressed with the novel approach to solving the problem Jeng posed.

Jeng received a trophy and an all-expense-paid trip to attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). He will represent our region at this year’s Intel ISEF being held in Phoenix, Arizona, in May.

Dr. Elizabeth Gierlowski-Kordesch, Professor of Geological Sciences and Dr. Mark Lucas, Senior Lecturer in Physics & Astronomy at Ohio University, organized the event.

Judges hail from many colleges and departments

“Sciences fairs have a tradition of taking place at an academic institution, for practical reasons,” Gierlowski-Kordesch says. “Ohio University has the highest concentration of scientists in the region. I recruit 80 to 90 judges each year who are scientists by training and by profession. Just as importantly, science fairs offer our young people an opportunity to ‘Learn by doing’. They must start a project from the beginning with a question to answer and they must think the project through. There’s no better way to learn science then with a challenge to solve a problem. If we want America to lead the world in scientific discoveries, we need more events like science fairs.”

The organizers this year partnered with faculty and graduate students from the College of Arts & Sciences (Biological Sciences, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Environmental & Plant Biology, Geological Sciences, Physics & Astronomy, and Psychology), the College of Health Sciences and Professions Food and Nutrition Sciences, The Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, and the Russ College of Engineering and Technology.

The event was sponsored by OHIO’s University College, the Office of the Vice-President for Research and Creative Activity, the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, the College of Health Sciences and Professions, and the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.

2016 Science Fair in Clippinger Labs

Event Photos and ‘In Their Own Words’

A Facebook album hosted by Physics & Astronomy provides photos and captions from the event, including quotes from students and judges.

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