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26 Ohio students earn Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Environmental Protection Research

Ohio EPA, Press Release

Ohio EPA is pleased to congratulate the winners of the 2023 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Environmental Protection Research.

Twenty-six seventh through 12th grade students were selected as part of State Science Day. Judging was conducted virtually in April. The winners were presented their awards at an Ohio Academy of Science Celebration of Science award ceremony, Saturday, May 13.

“Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – when I visit schools across the state, these are the subjects that I encourage kids to focus on most,” said Ohio EPA Director Anne M. Vogel. “We know that the new manufacturing opportunities and jobs Governor DeWine is bringing to Ohio will need young people with these advanced skills. And we’ll need some of those young people too, at Ohio EPA, to ensure that our state remains a great, clean environment for future generations to live, work, and play. Congratulations to all the winners (and participants) on a job well done.”

Senior Luca Gagliano, Athens High School in The Plains; juniors Luke Doseck and Joseph Wright, both from the Dayton Regional STEM School in Tipp City; and freshman Winnie Bodin, Benjamin Logan High School in Bellefontaine, are three-time winners of the Governor’s Award.

State Science Day is organized and sponsored by the Ohio Academy of Science and is the equivalent of a state championship for science projects. The primary objective of State Science Day is to provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate their abilities and interests in science through individual experimentation and research.

This year’s Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Environmental Protection Research recipients are:

Seventh Grade

• First Place: Samhita Paranthaman, Mason Middle School, Mason, Utilizing a Cost-Effective Tool to Identify Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) in a Fresh Water Ecosystem

• Second Place: Lucas D’Cruz, Shaker Heights Middle School, Shaker Heights, Best Simple Filtration Method for Water

• Third Place: Jessica Raymond and Tess Thornton, Kilbourne Middle School, Worthington, How is Algae Affected by Nitrate and Phosphate?

• Honorable Mention: Ashley Malsch, St. Columban School, Loveland, Loveland Water Quality.

Eighth Grade

• First Place: Vinny Stocco, St. Paul Catholic School, Westerville, Under What Conditions Will Superworms Eat the Most Plastic?

• Second Place: Aditya Varma Sangu, Olentangy Shanahan Middle School, Delaware, Hydrogen Power

• Third Place: Ziynat Sodikova, St. Mary School, Lancaster, Fungus Coexistence

• Honorable Mention: Ayat Jaffar, Birchwood School, Avon, Transparent Luminescent Solar Concentrator Versus Conventional Solar Panels.

Ninth Grade:

• First Place: Winnie Bodin, Benjamin Logan High School, Bellefontaine, Biological and Chemical Assessment on the Mad River Over Five Years

• Second Place: Jack D’Cruz, University School, Shaker Heights, Microplastics in the University School Water Filtration System

• Third Place: Robert Whittington, Zane Trace High School, Kingston, Fungi Magi

• Honorable Mention: Audrey Nixon and Emily Timmerman, Ottawa Hills High School, Toledo, The Effect of Water Temperature on Algal Growth

10th Grade:

• First Place: Rhea Pasupuleti, Dayton Regional STEM School, Miamisburg, Healthy Hydroponics: The Compost Contribution

• Second Place: Avalon Woconish, Beaumont School, Cleveland Heights, Invasive Invasion: A Study on Lawn Fertilizer and Invasive Species in Horseshoe Lake Park

• Third Place: Lahari Doppalapudi, Dayton Regional STEM School, Beavercreek, Waste to Plastic

• Honorable Mention: Kate Riegel, Archbishop Alter High School, Kettering, The Effect of Different Concentrations of Salty Road Runoff on Soybean Germination and Growth

11th Grade:

• First Place: Nathan Wang, The Seven Hills High School, Cincinnati, Toxicity of Per- and Polyfluorinated Alkyl Substances (Forever Chemicals) in the Annelid Lumbriculus

• Second Place: Elizabeth Theobald, Archbold High School, Archbold, Trihalomethane Occurrence and Formation within Water Distribution Systems Impacting Public Schools

• Third Place: Luke Doseck and Joseph Wright, Dayton Regional STEM School, Tipp City, Charge Up with Your Downspout: Perfecting a Hybrid Hydroelectric System

12th Grade:

• First Place: Luca Gagliano, Athens High School, The Plains, Comparing Mycelium Composite Materials

• Second Place: Ishani Zimmerman, Mentor High School, Mentor, Improving the Electrical Output of Solar Cells using Peltier Coolers and Heat Sinks

• Third Place: Thomas Franklin, Ottawa Hills High School, Ottawa Hills, Determining the Uptake Mechanism of Microcystin Algal Toxins in Roots

• Honorable Mention: Alice Lentz, Put-In-Bay High School, Put-in-Bay, The Effects of Algal Biofertilization on Hydroponically Grown Glycine max

Each year, approximately 10,000 students from across Ohio participate in local science fairs and are judged on knowledge achieved, effective use of the scientific method, clarity of expression, originality and creativity. Students who achieve superior ratings are invited to participate in district science fairs. More than 1,200 students from grades 5-12 participate in State Science Day and may be eligible for nearly 100 scholarships and awards valued at more than $4 million.

Ohio EPA employees were among the judges for the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Environmental Protection Research. Each recipient will receive a $100 prize and a certificate signed by Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio EPA Director Anne Vogel.