DANBURY, Conn. -- Ten students from Westside Middle School Academy earned a spot in the upcoming Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair.
The students were selected from nearly 150 who showed their science projects at a fair on Jan. 18. Two dozen judges, including scientists, engineers and teachers, viewed their projects and asked questions.
The seventh- and eighth-grade students who will head to the state fair are Carter Densk, Ava Williams, Jason Campisi, Gryffin Syme, Jordan Lema, Lasya Josyula, Cassy Plank-Pinoh, Khushi Parikh, Nick Raslavsky and Sahanna Chinthak.
Last year eight of 10 Westside Academy students were selected as finalists in the state competition, making the Academy the most successful middle school in the state. This year’s fair will be held at Quinnipiac University in Hamden and begins March 14. Josyula won the seventh-grade life sciences category at last year’s fair.
Started in September, the projects had to involve physical or life science, or engineering.
Densk’s project started when he purchased an apple that didn’t turn brown when it was cut. The possibilities of genetic engineering so intrigued the middle schooler that he modified his own apple – one that will grow faster and larger due to his intervention.
Densk's project involved extracting the DNA from two types of apples and injecting it in different concentrations into apple seeds. He learned from this the highest average growth ratio. “It was cool to see them modify an apple to what they wanted,” Carter said. “This is a good thing, . . . it could help bring more food to people who need it.”
Seventh-grader Khushi Parikh investigated pharmaceutical contaminants in the water supply, and whether and how they can be filtered. “There is a heathy amount of pharmaceuticals that you can have in your water, which is .03%,” she said.
Pharmaceutical dumping and flushing exceeds that by almost double. She came up with four methods of filtration using accessible items. Her research included contacting employees at Boehringer Ingelheim and a biopharmaceutical student. “Even over-the-counter pain relievers can contaminate water,” she said. “It’s important to spread awareness.”
For more on the upcoming state fair, click here.
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