The 2017 Louisville Regional Science & Engineering Fair was held on March 4 at the Kentucky Science Center with 268 students in grades 6-12 competing with 254 different projects. Students served were from Jefferson, Nelson, Oldham and Warren counties. The Science Center welcomed this event for the third year, and more than 1,000 guests from the general public engaged with the students to learn about Engineering, Microbiology, Chemistry, Plant Science and more. Over $10,000 in cash was awarded to students along with trophies, certificates and ribbons in 22 different STEM categories. Included in this total were over 60 special awards sponsored by local or national companies and nonprofits. LRSEF volunteers included almost 200 judges with expertise in the STEM fields and nearly 50 community volunteers helping as hosts.
LRSEF will be held at the Kentucky Science Center for this academic year on Saturday, March 3, 2018.
LRSEF normally awards the top four high school projects with a trip to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). This year, two LRSEF students won top honors at the Kentucky Science and Engineering Fair (KY-SEF), so they attended ISEF through a KY-SEF grant. Because of this, LRSEF promoted the students with fifth and sixth place projects to receive ISEF grants. As a result, six high school projects from LRSEF were selected to compete in ISEF in Los Angeles, CA, from May 14 to May 19, 2017. The students and their projects were:
- Vishaal Balamurugan (KY-SEF)- Bioengineering Islet Cells using 3D-Bio Printing Technology for the Treatment of Type One Diabetes (North Oldham High School)
- Analisa Conway– New Home Health Hazard: Exploring Flexible Flooring Cytotoxicity (Assumption High School)
- Joshua Jacob (KY-SEF)- Development of a Hybrid Direct Ink Writing 3D Printer: a Novel Approach to 3D Printing Multi-material Functional Devices and Flexible Electronics (Saint Xavier High School)
- Vaitheesh Jaganathan– Can Tender Coconut Water Inhibit the Growth of HepG2 Liver Cancer Cells? (Ballard High School)
- Kairav Kukkala– Surfactant Additives to Improve Paint Stain Resistance (Ballard High School)
- Sriram Satyavolu– Optimization of Storage Capacity using Activated Carbon Fibers from Sustainable Agricultural Sources for Hydrogen (Kentucky Country Day)
The top seven projects at LRSEF won Best of Fair Awards from a special 10-year grant of innovation funds established by Kevin Nolan of GE Appliances in 2014. The 2017 Senior Best of Fair winners ($420 award & trophy) were Vishaal Balamurugan, Joshua Jacob, Vaitheesh Jaganathan, and Sriram Satyavolu. The 2017 Junior Best of Fair winners ($240 award & trophy) were from St. Francis of Assisi:
- Nick Lynn – Exploring the Impacts of Pesticides and Herbicides on Catalase
- Henry Murr – Reducing Avian Fatalities Using Ultrasonic Detection
- Mark Schrenger – Exploring the Hidden Toxicity of Sunscreen
The LRSEF Senior division included 130 students from 11 high schools. The represented schools were Assumption, Ballard, J. Graham Brown School, Central, Eastern, Gatton Academy of Science and Mathematics, Kentucky Country Day, North Oldham, Portland Christian School, St. Xavier, and Valley. The winning high schools receiving trophies and cash awards were Ballard (first place $375), Eastern (second place $225) and Central (third place $150).
The LRSEF Junior division included 138 students from 12 middle and junior high schools. These schools included Anchorage Independent Public School, Boston School , J. Graham Brown School, Carrithers, Highland, Newburg, North Oldham, Nur Islamic School of Louisville, Our Lady of Lourdes , St. Francis of Assisi, St. Leonard, and The DaVinci School. The wining middle schools receiving trophies and cash awards were St. Francis of Assisi (first place $375) Carrithers (second place $225) and Newburg (third place $150).
LRSEF hosted VIP presenters GE Appliances executives Derrick Little and John Ouseph, Jo Haas, CEO of the Kentucky Science Center and KY Congressman Thomas Massie at the 2017 awards ceremonies.
On March 21, the Best of Fair students and representatives from the wining schools were honored in the state capital, Frankfort, and were presented special certificates by their legislators. The student group, joined by parents and teachers met with Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton and toured the Capitol Building.
On April 1, sixty-two winning Junior and Senior projects selected at LRSEF with students representing six middle schools and nine high schools competed in the Kentucky State Science & Engineering Fair (KY-SEF held at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky. Prizes at state are $75 for first place and $50 for second, with ribbons awarded for third.
The top 10 percent of students in the Junior division were awarded invitations to enter the Broadcom MASTERS national competition and all 26 LRSEF winners filled the online applications. On September 6, six KY students were chosen among the 300 national finalists. Three were LRSEF students, all from St. Francis of Assisi; Aliana Conway, Elizabeth Gallagher and Grace Hovekamp. From the semifinalists 30 finalists are selected spend a week in Washington, D.C., there were no finalists named from KY.
In May 2017, LRSEF sent four high school winners and two teachers to ISEF in Los Angeles CA. Two additional LRSEF students attended ISEF through grants from KY-SEF. Team Kentucky had a total of 18 projects and 21 students participating, they brought home $24,500 in awards. Each year at ISEF, approximately 1,800 high school students from more than 75 countries compete for about $4million in prizes.
LRSEF students Vishaal Balamurugan (North Oldham High School) won second place with a $1,500 award in Chemistry and $1,000 from the American Physiological Society; Joshua Jacob (St. Xavier High School) won second place with a $1,500 award in Engineering Mechanics and a $10,000 scholarship from Naval Research and Kairav Kukkala (Ballard High School) won fourth place with a $500 award in Chemistry.
The Team Kentucky students, parents and teachers were honored by Kentucky Cabinet Secretary of Education and Workforce Development Hal Heiner with a special reception on August 31, 2017. Students shared their experiences and research ideas, they received special recognition certificates.
LRSEF thanks its partners the SPOG-Science Policy Outreach Groups at University of Louisville, Kentucky Science Center, STEM Wizard and title sponsor GE Appliances, a Haier company and the APAF volunteers.