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York County Students Are Top Winners in Science and Engineering Fair

Tidewater Science FairFair winners: Katherine Webb, Shijia Wang, Christopher Cooper and Caitlin Cain.

Two students from high schools in York County were the top winners in the 62nd annual Tidewater Science and Engineering Fair March 16 at Old Dominion University. Katherine Webb of Tabb High School in Yorktown won first place in the senior division and Shijia Wang of York County High School won second place.

Caitlin Cain of Gloucester High School in Gloucester County won first place in the Senior Excellence Award competition and Christopher Cooper of Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach won second place.

This was the ninth straight year that ODU has hosted the fair, attracting the brightest science and engineering minds from local schools. The event drew more than 200 student entries from 16 regional public school divisions, grades 7-12. The projects, in fields like life sciences, physics and computer engineering, were evaluated by more than 100 judges and evaluators, and viewed by hundreds of parents and students from throughout southeastern Virginia.

Since 1950, the Tidewater Science and Engineering Fair has been a magnet for bright students from Williamsburg to Virginia Beach to discover the processes of research and scientific communication. Many participants in the Tidewater Science and Engineering Fair have gone on to distinguished careers in a host of professional fields.

The word "Engineering" was added to the Tidewater Science Fair name in 2011, to reflect the growth of importance in STEM education and innovation, and to reflect the dynamic nature of the science fair itself.

ODU is a primary sponsor of the event. Chris Osgood, associate dean of the ODU College of Sciences, and Michael Overstreet, former associate dean of the college, are members of the fair's board of directors.

Here are top winners and their project titles:

Grand Prize -- Katherine Webb, "A Revised Estimate of the Effect of Human Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions on Global Temperature," Tabb High School, teacher/mentor Joyce Kuberek.

Second Grand Prize -- Shijia Wang, "Investigation of Vertical Vibration Isolation during Turbulence," York High School, teacher/mentor Cynthia Hardesty.

First Award of Excellence in the Senior Division -- Caitlin Cain, "Can Folk Remedies Control E. Coli Growth?" Gloucester High School, teacher/mentor Kimberely Ci.

Second Award of Excellence in the Senior Division -- Christopher Cooper, "Synthesis and Characterization of Selected Biochars and Bioassay for Potential Algae Inhibitory Effects," Ocean Lakes High, teacher/mentor Heather Green.

First Award of Excellence in the Junior Division -- Aaron Hodges, "The Comparison of Infrared Transmissions on Selected Gases," Gildersleeve Middle School, Newport News, teacher/mentor Tom Criner.

Second Award of Excellence in the Junior Division -- Bryce Edwards, "The Speed of Sound in Gases," Gildersleeve Middle School, teacher/mentor Dave Watt.