Middlebrook students bring home state science fair awards

By Kendra Baker on March 31, 2016

Four first-place winners of this year’s Middlebrook Science and Engineering Fair went on to earn several awards and recognitions at the 68th annual Connecticut State Science and Engineering Fair, March 15-19.

Nearly 120 schools and regional fairs sent seventh through 12th graders to compete for the 600 available spaces at the state fair, held at Quinnipiac University in Hamden. Approximately 150 finalists were selected to present their research to volunteer judges from government, academia, professional societies and industry.

Seventh grader Anika Bhagavatula, whose Banana Peels: Second Life as a Water Purifier project won best in fair at Middlebrook, received eight awards at the state fair:

First place: Petit Family Foundation Women in Science & Engineering Award: Middle School Life Sciences. First place: Environmental Sciences Award with CACIWC: Middle School. First place: Sustainable Resources and Practices Award: Middle School. Second place: Pfizer Life Sciences Award: Seventh Grade Life Sciences. Second place: Alexion Biotechnology Award: Seventh Grade Biotechnology. She also received special awards from the U.S. Navy/U.S. Marine Corps Office of Naval Research, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the Connecticut Invention Convention Next Step Inventors.

For her project, Anika investigated an alternative purification method using banana peels. She formulated and tested copper contaminated water and fertilizer contaminated water to see whether banana peels are capable of removing heavy metals and fertilizers, which she proved to be extremely effective.

Anika has been invited to compete in Broadcom MASTERS and present at the Connecticut Invention Convention as a CIC Next Step Inventor.

For her Building the Better Battery project, seventh grader Nina Ferrucci was named a Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair Physical Sciences Award finalist and received an honorable mention from the Connecticut Section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Eighth grader Megha Gupta’s Plants to Cool The Planet project earned her the title of Pfizer Life Sciences Award finalist in the eighth grade life sciences division at the state level competition.

Eighth grader Vignesh Subramanian won a special award from the Connecticut Valley chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers for his Building Fire-Resistant Homes project.

Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair finalists competed for nearly $200,000 in prizes, as well as several trips to represent Connecticut at national and international competitions. In addition to trophies, plaques and gifts, Anika took home more than $1,000 and Nina and Vignesh each received $100.