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Douglas County Students Sweep the Region Science and Engineering Fair
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Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Isabella Naile, Grand Champion of the West Georgia Region Science and Engineering Fair
Isabella Naile, Grand Champion of the West Georgia Region Science and Engineering Fair
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26 projects advance to state event; 21 from Douglas County

Twenty-six science fair projects from the West Georgia Region Science and Engineering Fair will advance to state, and 21 of those projects are from students in the Douglas County School System (DCSS). In addition, the two projects with the highest overall scores were from Douglas County. The West Georgia Region includes public and private schools in the following counties: Douglas, Carroll, Coweta, Haralson, Meriwether, Polk, Troup, and Heard. The region fair was held February 9 at the University of West Georgia.

 “I am so proud of our middle and high school scientists and engineers in Douglas County,” said Pam Walker, Lead School Improvement Specialist for DCSS. “It is rewarding to see a young person learn by doing as they practice investigation and engineering design. These young people are making preparations for their life after graduation, as they begin with an idea and follow it through to solve a problem or find an answer to a scientific question.” 

Isabella Naile, 7th grader at Chapel Hill Middle School, was named Grand Champion of the West Georgia Region Science and Engineering Fair. Her project scored highest overall. Supervised by teacher Cheronda Minnis-Arnold, Isabella titled her project “Photocatalytic Water: Treatment for Developing Countries.”  

Isabella became interested in water purification after family friends who serve as missionaries in the Marshall Islands came to visit. They explained how poor people there become sick because they don’t have clean drinking water. “I was surprised to learn that worldwide, 1.8 billion people use water contaminated with feces,” said Isabella. “This bothered me because I feel that having clean drinking water should be a human right.”

Using filters, solar disinfection, and a photocatalyst, Isabella created a two-part water purification system that can be duplicated in third world countries for under $25. Over a two month period, the Douglas County Water and Sewer Authority tested contaminated creek water that Isabella collected from Sweetwater Creek and treated with her system. Her invention killed enough bacteria in a two-hour period to make it safe to drink. For eight of the samples, 100% of bacteria were killed.

Andrea Torres-Wilcken, 8th grader at Chapel Hill Middle School, was named Reserve Grand Champion with the second highest score. Her project was titled “Auto-Quarium,” and her supervising teacher was Christina Baxley.

Andrea decided to create an automatic aquarium keeper because she has an aquarium at home. “Every time my family goes on vacation, it is a problem because we cannot maintain an aquarium while we are away,” said Andrea. “My project is controlled by a Programmable Logic Controller and has different modes that are time based. Every system in the aquarium turns on and off at the programmed time. My invention runs on a 24 hour clock.”

The Georgia Science and Engineering Fair will be held March 22-24, 2018, in Athens, GA. The state event is Georgia’s premier forum for students to showcase their original research, compete for awards, and interact with top-level professional scientists. The following Douglas County students will advance to the state event. For some projects, two students collaborated.

Chapel Hill Middle School: Isabella Naile; Kennedy Rogers; Ella Stinchcomb and Emma Armstrong; Andrea Torres-Wilcken; David Gorzynski; and Kyle VanderWeit

Douglas County High School: Ayesha Saeed and Michael Manchiraju

Fairplay Middle School: Brooke Walker and Eryn Estelle

Factory Shoals Middle School: Jazmine Trowers

Lithia Springs High School: Afrah Ayim-Darko and Hope Lee; Savannah Reynolds; J. Chase Cooper; Nick Gorzynski; and D. Alex Bright

Mason Creek Middle School: Meagan Greene; Leila Gragg and Kylee Green; and Andrew Manchiraju

Turner Middle School: Charlotte Hunter and Micayah Taye