GARY | Twenty young scientists from Lake County schools will travel to the Indiana State Science Fair at Indiana University in Bloomington on April 6, thanks to their stellar performances at the Calumet Regional Science Fair last weekend.
Winners in the senior division, which represents high school students, will compete at the state level for entry into the International Science Fair in Phoenix in May.
Eight top achievers in the junior division, including grades six through eight, and two from the elementary division, grades one through five, will complete their competition at the state level.
That’s because there is no junior division at the international fair, said Linda Wozniewski, vice president of the Calumet Regional Science Fair.
“We have a third-grader going to the state science fair who has beaten out eighth-graders. That’s something,” said Wozniewski, who is also a Department of Chemistry lecturer at Indiana University Northwest.
The 57th annual Calumet Regional Science Fair and Associated Art Exhibit attracted 117 student scientists representing 21 schools. A total of 92 students won various awards.
They entered their projects in one of 17 categories, including animal science, social and behavior, biochemistry, cellular biology, computer science, electrical engineering, earth and space science, energy and transportation, and medicine and health science.
Nathan Kondamuri, a Munster High School senior, took top honors in the senior division with his project “A Solar Cell Based on Modified Photosynthetic Pigments." Kondamuri engineered a solar cell aimed reducing the world dependence on fossil fuels.
Lake Central High School ninth-grader Sarthak Aggarwal earned second place in the senior division for his project "Coating Seeds for Maximum Germination." Aggarwal looked at how to coat seeds to maximize germination rates in arid conditions.
He also garnered the Baby’s Choice Award sponsored by Franciscan St. Anthony Health in Crown Point and received it from 11-month old Harper O’Brien, of Lowell.
Lake Central junior Kaylyn Risse earned third place in the senior division, while Hobart High School senior Madeline Jewell took fourth place.
Lake Central sophomore Brandilynn Stockton-Fresso and Hammond High School junior Cinthya Rodriguez tied for fifth place.
Other senior division students going to the state science fair include juniors Amanda Beade and Pedro Rodriguez, of Hammond High; junior Rathnam Venkat, of Munster High; and seniors Jasmine Suarez and Aimee Pope, of Hobart High.
In the junior division, first place went to Nathan Risse, an eighth-grader at Clark Middle School in St. John.
Other junior division winners included sixth-graders Jared McIntire and Sophia Nowacki, of Clark Middle School; sixth-graders Anna McCuiag and Madison Rigg, of Kahler Middle School in Dyer; and St. John the Evangelist School seventh-graders Matthew Florida and Matthew Goncher and eighth-grader Andrea Nowaskowski.
Annie Ostojic, a fifth-grader at Frank H. Hammond Elementary School in Munster, received first place in the elementary division.
Zayn Shareff, a third-grader at Hammond Montessori School, took second place.
The Associated Art Fair, held during the regional science fair, also produced winners.
Joshua Hedges, of Solon Robinson Elementary in Crown Point, took first place. Second place went to Alana Mitchell, of Lew Wallace Middle/High School in Gary, and Muaaz Shareef, of Montessori Children’s Schoolhouse in Hammond, received the third-place art award.