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Ohio EPA Announces 2015 State Science Day Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Environmental Protection Research

Ohio EPA announced this week the Governor's Award for Excellence in Environmental Protection Research winners. These 24 students were selected at State Science Day at the Ohio State University on Saturday May 16.

State Science Day is organized and sponsored by the Ohio Academy of Science and is the equivalent of a state championship for science projects. The primary objective of State Science Day is to provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate their abilities and interests in science through individual experimentation and research.

Each year, more than 35,000 students at more than 1,000 schools across Ohio participate in local science fairs and are judged on knowledge achieved, effective use of scientific method, clarity of expression, originality and creativity. Students who achieve superior ratings are invited to participate in district science fairs. More than 1,000 students from grades 5-12 participate in State Science Day and may be eligible for nearly 100 different scholarships and awards valued at more than $4 million.

This year, Ohio EPA would particularly like to congratulate freshman Michael Chmura, junior Alan Fong and senior Michaela Dean, who were earned a Governor’s Award for the second time, and senior Vishal Nallanagulagari, for his third time receiving this award.

This year’s recipients of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Environmental Protection Research are:

7th Grade

  • First Place: Maanasa Mendu, Mason MS, Mason, Walking Electricity;
  • Second Place: Adriane E. Thompson, Genoa MS, Westerville, Deadly Waters: The Effects of Water Quality on Artemia salina;
  • Third Place: Salma M. Fleifil, Schilling School for Gifted, Cincinnati, Green Insulating Materials; and
  • Honorable Mention: Colin Green Gagne, John Sells MS, Dublin, Living Light: Bioluminescence – the “Green” Light Source of the Future?

    8th Grade

  • First Place: Mukund Anand Seshadri, Village Academy, Powell, Phytoremediation of Copper using Brassica Juncea;
  • Second Place: Thomas Gregory Deep, St. Luke, Beavercreek, Saltwater Battery; and
  • Third Place: Grace E. Julien, National Inventor’s Hall of Fame School, Akron, The Effect of Different Types of Green Roofs on Interior Temperatures

    9th Grade

  • First Place: Vinodh K. Enukonda, Beavercreek HS, Beavercreek, Building Energy Efficient Green Towers;
  • Second Place: Akul Rajan, William Mason HS, Mason, The Phytotoxic Effect of Allelochemicals to Help Weed Control in a Natural Approach;
  • Third Place: Grant S. Lach, Bloom-Carroll HS, Carroll; Can You Make a Cost Efficient Photobioreactor?
  • Honorable Mention: Michael J. Chmura, St. Vincent St. Mary, Akron, The Effect of Varying pH on Methane Production in Anaerobic Digesters

    10th Grade

  • First Place: Nikita R. Kesav, William Mason HS, Mason, Resource Recovery and Reuse: Recycled Magnetically Separable Iron-based Catalysts for Arsenic Removal and Phosphate Recovery;
  • Second Place: Anastasia Axiopoulos, Mansfield Senior HS, Mansfield, Creating and Decomposing Biodegradable Bioplastic;
  • Third Place: Abigail L. Myers, Big Walnut HS, Sunbury, Oil Spill Clean-up: Sorbent Effectiveness Near Aquatic Shorelines; and
  • Honorable Mention: Martha J. Blatt, Beaumont School, Cleveland Heights, Comparing Electrical Output of Different Soil Types in Microbial Fuel Cells.

    11th Grade

  • First Place: Emily A. Gootzeit, Tippecanoe HS, Tipp City, Non-standard Substances for Melting Ice;
  • Second Place: Amanda E. Janecek, Louisville HS, Louisville,The Short-Term Effects of Water Temperature on PET Plastics;
  • Third Place: Alan Fong, Sylvania Southview HS, Sylvania, Optical and Electrical Characterization of ZnO:Al Transparent Conducting Oxides; and
  • Honorable Mention: Richard B. Jin, Maumee Valley Country Day, Toledo, Sulfurization of Thin-Film Copper Antimony Sulfide for Low Cost and Environmentally Friendly Solar Cells; and
  • Honorable Mention: Pallavi Lanka, Sylvania Southview HS, Sylvania, The Viability of Switchable Hydrophilicity Solvents for Lipid Extraction in Algal Biofuel Production.

    12th Grade

  • First Place: Vishal Reddy Nallanagulagari, Upper Arlington HS, Upper Arlington, Utilization of Plant Roots for the Production of Ethanol Through Fermentation and Isolation of Rubber;
  • Second Place: Michaela M. Dean, Rutherford B. Hayes HS, Delaware, Plants to Plastics: A Study of Unique Biopolymers;
  • Third Place: Alyssa P. Armstrong, Canfield HS, Canfield, Using Isotherms to Examine Competitive Sorption of Heavy Metals by Soils, Biochar and Biosolids; and
  • Honorable Mention: Jarrett Willoughby, Miami East HS, Casstown, Predicting the Structure of Biodiesel Fuel via Combustion of Esters.
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    The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.