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Edison fair rewards students, science

Feb. 7, 2013

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Edison Science Fair: Anthony Vigliotti shares his passion for science at the Edison Science and Engineering Fair on Saturday at Alico Arena in Fort Myers. Kinfay Moroti/
Madison Clinger received honorable mention for her science project on Behavior and Social Sciences during the 56th Annual Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Science and Engineering Fair awards ceremony. / Lindsay Terry/


These students will go to the State Science Fair in April. All of these students received a full four-year scholarship to FGCU.

Emily McIltrot, Shreeya Desai, Ally Schaerf, Paul Hill, Derrick Robles, Jethro Ignacio, Hayden Wilder, Sarah Lown, Emilee Cato, Jared Bivens, Kelsey Hansen, Simon Negin, Jay Chandar, Eleanor Keys, Sanim Choudhury, Natalie Henning, Madison Noall, Suhas Penukonda, Steven Schwartz, Amanda Podlasek, Travis Edwards, Tarini Chandok, Carver Sorenson, Nick Thompson, Katie Thorp, Angelique Noles, Ahmed Ahad, Varun Varshney, Jack Norleans

Best in Fair, Junior Division: Eleanor Keys; Best in Fair, Senior Division: Jack Norleans


Additional coverage of Edison science and inventors' fairs as well as more on the Festival of Light

Alico Arena was filled Wednesday night with hundreds of the area’s brightest, science-minded students as the Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Science and Engineering Fair awards were handed out.

Tied in to the Edison Festival of Light celebration, this is the 56th year for the regional science fair, which was held Saturday at FGCU.

There were 54 schools from Lee and Charlotte counties participating in this year’s event, with at least 12,000 students doing projects. Of those, 434 entered the regional fair in 17 categories, ranging from animal sciences to astronomy. Winners took home cash, trophies, scholarships, and the opportunity to compete at the state level.

One of the early winners, Sarah Cook, a freshman at Cypress Lake High School, was ecstatic to win recognition from the American Association of University Women. She won $500 and an invitation to an association luncheon, which she plans to attend.

“I think that’s cool,” she said. “I would enjoy that.”

Cook admits science isn’t one of her strong points, but her project on the “Effect of Vitamin C on Mitosis in Planaria” won her honorable mention in the Animal Science category.

Cook also had the honor of being the only student from Cypress Lake High School to compete in this year’s fair.

First-place winners will compete at the state level, and eventually, could find themselves competing at national, then international levels.

Caloosa Middle School student Bronson Hervey’s project on the “affect of radiation on bean seed germination” came in last at the school science fair. He hoped to fare a little better at this one.

“I put bean seeds in the microwave,” he said, but he failed to study the types of radiation, and the project didn’t pan out like planned.

The Office of Naval Research gave its Naval Science Award to 11-year-old Charles Bauer, a Good Shepherd Lutheran School student.

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He was surprised to win, and said it was “pretty cool, because I like the Navy.”

His project — “Super Strong Magnets Make a Simple Motor” — doesn’t mean he’s planning a career in science, though, he said.

FGCU Provost Ron Toll lauded the parents of the students.

“I know what you gave up. I know that some of you can never use certain kitchen utensils again,” he said to laughter. “Some of you gave up rooms in your homes, you turned it over to the science fair. I hope that none of you met with the misfortune that I met with when my oldest daughter’s science project escaped and ate a hole through the felt in my pool table.”

He said his three children were changed by their participation in the science fairs because they were given the opportunity to expand in ways that typical instruction these days doesn’t allow.

“They needed to demonstrate intellectual ownership of what they had done” when standing next to their project and answering questions, Toll said.

“They were changed because they found early in their lives that they could begin to ask questions that other people had never asked, to collect data that no other people had already collected, to begin to answer questions that no one else had ever answered.”

His children became scientists and engineers, he said.

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