2015 Arizona Science & Engineering Fair

— by Paul Plato

On April 8, AHS, in cooperation with the Central Arizona Project, reviewed and presented awards to deserving hydrologic and water projects at the annual Arizona Science & Engineering Fair. This marks the twelfth straight year that AHS and CAP have teamed up to award prizes at AzSEF, and AHS would like to thank Bill Victor of Montgomery & Associates, who helped me judge projects at this years’ event. It also marks the fourth year that AzSEF is a winner’s fair — meaning that you must win at the local level to complete in the event. The number and quality of the projects was outstanding, and they have done a remarkable job in making the fair a major success.

This year, there were many choices of water related projects for the judging team to review. Following our review, awards were made to the following projects, based upon merit.

Senior Division

1st Place ($200): Hal Carrigan, “Can Bacteria Effectively Reduce the Toxicity of Mine Drainage?” Mr. Carrigans’ project involved evaluating bacteria that can effectively oxidize manganese from +2 to the less toxic +4 state. The L Cholodnii SP-6 bacteria was shown to be effective in this manganese oxidation process but was hampered by nickel and zinc concentrations. His work may have applications in mine water cleanups, where nickel and zinc concentrations are low.

2nd Place ($100): Claire Thai, “Efficacious Phytoremediation of Rice and the Surrounding Environment from Arsenic and Lead using Nymphaea Odorata.” Ms. Thai’s project involved evaluating phytoremediation of arsenic and lead contamination from water to limit uptake in rice plants.

Junior High Division

1st Place ($50): Patrick Stapleton, “The Effects of Salinity of a Groundwater Reserve on Geothermal Energy Production.” Mr. Stapleton’s project involved an assessment of the impact of dissolved solids on geothermal resource development.

Honorable Mention: Tyler Whilden, “The Effect of Types of Water on the Growth of Basil Plants.” Mr. Whilden’s project evaluated how different water sources impact plant growth.

Elementary Division

1st Place ($50): Ellie Tingey “Flooding the Desert.” Ms. Tingey’s project involved evaluating flooding in the desert due to runoff.

Honorable Mention: Sienna Franklin, “Organisms in Water.” Ms. Franklin’s project evaluated the bacteria content of waters.

Honorable Mention: Amanda Branch, “Characteristics between Different Water Sources.” Ms. Branch’s project evaluated the differences between various water sources.

Honorable Mention: Colleen Gately, “The Real Cost of Washing Your Car.” Ms. Gately’s project evaluated the efficient use of water.

Congratulations to all the winners this year! The projects were very inspiring. And congratulations to all the aspiring future scientists who I talked with this year; it was, as always, a rewarding and fun experience.

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