Press Release April 28, 2021

JAX supports 2021 Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair

Shark behavior! Microplastic filtration systems! Worms!

The topics were varied and fascinating at the 73rd Annual Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair (CSEF), which took place virtually March 8-20. Middle and high school students across the state were invited to present independent research projects to a panel of judges, and those in top places were invited to compete in the International Science and Engineering Fair set for May 3-6.

JAX genomics educator Christina Vallianatos served as a judge for the Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair.

JAX genomics educator Christina Vallianatos, Ph.D., served as a judge for the 2021 Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair.

The Jackson Laboratory is a proud sponsor of CSEF. This year, JAX was once again a major sponsor of the Urban School Challenge, a special fair category serving Connecticut’s lowest performing Alliance District schools. The Fair awarded more than $350,000 in scholarships and prizes to top-ranking students.

Despite the many challenges of conducting research during a pandemic, these young investigators demonstrated incredible adaptability and resiliency, as well as creativity and dedication to their projects. We congratulate all students on their hard work and conducting research in this especially difficult year. 

JAX employees had the opportunity to volunteer to be on the panel of CSEF judges. This year 23 employees from all three campuses reviewed the students’ research methods and conducted virtual interviews. A special thanks to the following JAX volunteers: Sudheesh AP, Britt Callahan, Yian Chen, Matthew Coxe, Ali Foroughi pour, Jacob Flores, Bill Flynn, Kyungin Kim, Bruno Lemos, Yang Liu, Swaran Nandini, Kimberly Pineda, Izabela Puskarz, Vida Ravanmehr, Ahmed Sadeque, Darani Thammavongsa, Christina Vallianatos, Stephanie Virgulto, Isha Walawalkar, Sarah Wojiski, Feyza Yilmaz, Qianru Yu and Dacheng Zhao.

Watch JAX’s Sarah Wojiski, Ph.D., Director of Education, deliver congratulatory remarks to the winners of the Urban School Challenge (18:55 – 21:45 Middle School awards; 2:00:10 – 2:03:40 High School awards) and view the complete list of fair results here.

Urban School Challenge Middle School Awardees:

Snigtha Mohanraj, grade 8. Engineering & Science University Magnet School, New Haven. Implementation of Metal-Oxide-Induced Agglomeration and Electromagnetic Filtration for Removal of Microplastics.

Sydney Borst, grade 7. Westside Middle School Academy, Danbury. Using Snell's Law to Calculate Index of Refraction of Solutions.

Luca LaRosa, grade 7. Westside Middle School Academy, Danbury. The Effect of Bee Box Volume Size on Temperature and Humidity of a Wintering Bee Hive.

Christopher Tomas Borges, grade 8. Westside Middle School Academy, Danbury. The Effect of an Insulator with Styrofoam on the Temperature Difference Between Two Pieces of Cardboard.

Sofia Atehortua, grade 8. Multicultural Magnet School, Bridgeport. Microplastic Concentration in Four Harbor Locations in Fairfield County, CT.

Stacy Sanchez-luna, grade 7. Park City Prep Charter School, Bridgeport. Worms, Not Just For Composting Anymore.

Sophia Blumenreich, grade 7. Westside Middle School Academy, Danbury. The Effect of UV Light on Bacteria From a Horse Bit.

Eric Guo, grade 8. Westside Middle School Academy, Danbury. The Effects of Concentrations of Acetone on the Tensile Strength of Bioplastics.

Kiran Suri, grade 7. Westside Middle School Academy, Danbury. Thermoelastic energy generation using variable temperature gradients.

Isabella D’Agostino, grade 8. Environmental Sciences Magnet School, Hartford. COVID-19’s Impact on Water Quality in Recreational Areas Along the Long Island Sound Coastline.

Eva Quijada, grade 8. Environmental Sciences Magnet School, Hartford. The impacts of the presence of Canada Geese (Branta Canadensis) on the water quality in local ponds and lakes.

Urban School Challenge High School Awardees:

Clayton Nyiri, grade 12. Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture Center, Bridgeport. The Social Interactions and Learning Abilities Between Dogfish, Observed Using Two Different Methods of Target Training.

Paige Gagnon, grade 12. Manchester High School, Manchester. The Effect of Dissolved Flavonoid Supplements on the Chelation of Iron in a Solution.

Sienna Matregrano, grade 12. Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture Center, Bridgeport. Determining the Efficacy of Zingiber Officinale to Promote the Degradation of Bioplastics Through Amylase Hydrolysis.

Matthew Duffy, grade 12. Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture Center, Bridgeport. Developing an Adhesive Constructed from a Maize starch-based matrix Mixed with Chondrus crispus Carrageenan and Determining the Biodegradability of the Adhesive.

Joseph Gottlieb, grade 12. Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture Center, Bridgeport. Development of a Novel Classification Model to Determine Vegetation Habitability of Exoplanet Atmospheres Via Random Forest Machine Learning Algorithms.

Maria Elena Dos Santos, grade 12. Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture Center, Bridgeport. Investigating the Efficacy of Cannabidiol on the Elongation Time of the Coagulation Cascade to Mitigate Intravascular Clots.

Alexander Vassallo, grade 12. Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture Center, Bridgeport. Harnessing Bio-Kinetic Energy Through A Wearable Non-Invasive Generator.

Savoy Volcy, grade 12. Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture Center, Bridgeport. A Novel Technique to Mitigate Harmful Algal Blooms by Utilizing Electromagnetic Pulses.

Alexandra Hamza, grade 11. Manchester High School, Manchester. The Effects of Bacillus and Trichoderma Inoculant and Lepidum Sativum.

Aiman-Imran Anuar, grade 11. Engineering & Science University Magnet School, New Haven. Gravity-Assisted Energy Conversion: Improving the Feasibility of Mechanically Powered Electricity Generators.

Praneeth Chitirala, grade 10. Engineering & Science University Magnet School, New Haven. Natural Function Restrictions, Identities, and Properties to Determine Finite Cardinalities of Solutions for Real-Valued Functions Projected onto Natural Space.