Gatton Academy Students Earn Awards and Advance to Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
- Author: Cheryl Kirby-Stokes
- Author: Wednesday, March 13th, 2019
Photo Credits (Picture at Left):
Top Row (L-R) Abdullah Ateyeh, Rithik Reddy, Sasha Sairajeev
Bottom Row (L-R) Matthew Knerr, Lea Mitchell, Miriam Richardson, Elisha VanZant
Seven Gatton Academy students were recognized with awards at the Louisville Regional Science and Engineering Fair (LRSEF) on Saturday, March 2, 2019. Three of the students qualified to automatically advance to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Phoenix, Arizona in May.
Abdullah Ateyeh, a Frankfort senior from Western Hills High School, Matthew Knerr, a Paducah senior from McCracken County High School, Lea Mitchell, a Hebron senior from Conner High School, Rithik Reddy, a Bowling Green senior from Bowling Green High School, Miriam Richardson, an Irvine junior from Estill County High School, Sasha Sairajeev, a Frankfort senior from Franklin County High School, and Elisha VanZant, a Lexington junior from Henry Clay High School, were recognized at the Louisville Regional Science and Engineering Fair.
“The Louisville Regional Science & Engineering Fair and our Board of Directors, along with our title sponsor GE Appliances, were thrilled at the success of the high school students from The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science at our 55th annual fair,” stated 2018/2019 LFSEF President Terry Roach. “This year, LRSEF was pleased to award every participating student from The Gatton Academy with recognition for their creative and compelling projects. All have been promoted to the Kentucky State Science & Engineering Fair at Eastern Kentucky University in March.”
The Louisville Regional Science and Engineering Fair is an annual science and engineering fair for students in grades 6-12 from 52 Kentucky counties. In the high school division, the top four winners automatically advance to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
“We are honored to have three Gatton students selected as ‘LRSEF Best of Fair.’ These Gatton students will be great ambassadors from Kentucky attending the International Science & Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona in May,” remarks Roach. “Our congratulations to each of the students, teachers and parents for your diligent work in the STEM fields.”
Ateyeh and Reddy teamed to advance to the Intel ISEF by receiving one of the Top 4 Best of Fair spots. They earned first place in the Computational Biology and Bioinformatics category for their research, “Finding the Most Influential Factors Which Control the Healing of Chronic Wounds.” Their work was mentored by Dr. Richard Schugart of the WKU Department of Mathematics.
Knerr earned second place in the Animal Science category and also received the Naval Sciences special award for his research, “Artificial Light at Night on Biometrics in Zebra Finches.” His work was mentored by Dr. Noah Ashley of the WKU Department of Biology.
Mitchell earned first place in the Earth and Environmental Science category for her research, “Longitudinal Study of Water Quality in Jennings Creek, Bowling Green, Kentucky: Urbanization Impacts on Karst Groundwater.” She also received the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, the Girls Achieving Leadership through Science award from the Women Environmental Leaders of Louisville, the NOAA 2019 Taking the Pulse of the Planet Award, and the American Society of Civil Engineering Award. Her research was mentored by Dr. Jason Polk of the WKU Department of Geography and Geology.
Richardson and VanZant teamed to earn first place in the Microbiology category for their research, “The Isolation, Characterization, and Composition of Novel Bacteriophages PilotOrr and Triard.” Their work was mentored by Ms. Naomi Rowland of the WKU Department of Biology.
Sairajeev advanced to the Intel ISEF after receiving one of the Top 4 Best of Fair spots. Her work received first place in the Biochemistry category and the American Chemical Society’s Biochemistry Special Award for her research, “Synthesis of Platinum Anticancer Compound oxalato (1,4-dimethylpiperzine) platinum (II).” Her research was mentored by Dr. Kevin Williams of the WKU Department of Chemistry.
“We are more than proud and excited that every one of the Gatton students who participated placed in their categories and were recognized with special awards,” said Academic Opportunities Coordinator, Cheryl Kirby-Stokes. “Our students go above and beyond when it comes to their research projects, so it is rewarding to see them recognized for all their hard work.”
For more information about The Gatton Academy, visit www.wku.edu/academy or call (270) 745-6565.
About The Gatton Academy: Established in 2007, The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first residential two-year program for gifted and talented junior and seniors. The Gatton Academy’s students enroll as juniors and are full-time WKU students pursuing their interests in advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematical careers. The Gatton Academy has been named to The Washington Post’s list of top-performing schools with elite students for nine consecutive years.
About the Louisville Regional Science & Engineering Fair (lrsef.org): The mission of the Louisville Regional Science & Engineering Fair is to awaken, promote, and recognize science and engineering talent among our area's youth and act as a catalyst to promote science and engineering throughout Kentucky. LRSEF serves all interested students in grades 6 -12 living in 52 Kentucky counties. Students are encouraged to register for the annual LRSEF as a result of being selected as a winning project at their school or county science & engineering fair. If NO locally accessible fair is held, any student in public, private or home school may register directly to enter LRSEF, with the support of their teachers. Winning projects advance to state and international competitions. LRSEF is one of five fairs in Kentucky affiliated with the INTEL International Science & Engineering Fair and BroadCom M.A.S.T.E.R.S.