More than 750 students from across Georgia competed for more than $30,000 in prizes and awards during the 70th annual Georgia Science and Engineering Fair, run by UGA’s Center for Continuing Education & Hotel, a public service and outreach unit. Students must be selected to advance from one of the state’s regional fairs to exhibit in the GSEF competition. Winners were announced on March 24 following two days of judging and public viewing.

Marissa McAfee won the top prize, the Pinnacle Award, and will advance to ISEF with her project titled “Casualty Care Improvised Direct Pressure Adjunct.” McAfee attends South Forsyth High School. Grand Awards were presented to 11 students, and four of these students plus one alternate were selected to advance to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh May 13-18. These winners and 26 others already selected from regional fairs will represent the state of Georgia in competition at ISEF.

“These students represent the top young scientific and engineering talent in our state,” said Laura Brewer, science fair director and program coordinator for the Office of Special Academic Programs, which administers the event each year. “The science fair experience gives them the knowledge, skills and confidence to pursue higher education and careers in advanced STEM fields and make unprecedented advancements toward a better world.”

This year’s award winners are listed below with their project titles, schools and counties.

Pinnacle Award:

Marissa McAfee, “Casualty Care Improvised Direct Pressure Adjunct.” South Forsyth High School, Forsyth County.

Intel ISEF Award:

  • Saadh Ahmed, “Development of a Drug-Likeness Rule for Natural Products,” Northview High School, Fulton County.
  • Marissa McAfee, “Casualty Care Improvised Direct Pressure Adjunct,” South Forsyth High School, Forsyth County.
  • Divya Srinivasan, “Acoustic Signatures: A Novel Tool to Detect Muscle Myopathy,” Johns Creek High School, Fulton County.
  • Joseph Zhang, “Expression of Arginase in Colitis During Recovery Confirms MDSC,” Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science & Technology, Gwinnett County.

Intel ISEF Award Alternate:

  • Vikram Ruppa-Kasani, “Detecting Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Using Nanoparticles,” Chattahoochee High School, Fulton County.

Grand Awards:

  • Saadh Ahmed, “Development of a Drug-Likeness Rule for Natural Products,” Northview High School, Fulton County.
  • Susanna Dorminy, “Dynamo Powered Vaccine Carrier for Off-Grid Locations, Year 2,” Sola Fide Home School, Henry County.
  • Marissa McAfee, “Casualty Care Improvised Direct Pressure Adjunct.,” South Forsyth High School, Forsyth County.
  • Suraj Modi, “Rapid Prediction of Seizures Using Machine Learning Algorithms,” Mountain View High School, Gwinnett County.
  • Vikram Ruppa-Kasani, “Detecting Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Using Nanoparticles,” Chattahoochee High School, Fulton County.
  • Divya Srinivasan, “Acoustic Signatures: A Novel Tool to Detect Muscle Myopathy,” Johns Creek High School, Fulton County.
  • Anderson Thrasher, “The Search for Newborn Stars: Observing Bok Globules,” Henry W. Grady High School, Fulton County.
  • Caitlin van Zyl and Jacqueline van Zyl, “Experimental External Neural Pathway for Motion in Stroke Victims,” McIntosh High School, Fayette County.
  • Zoe Weiss, “New Cell Type Detection via Single-Cell Gene Expression Algorithm,” Lakeside High School DeKalb, DeKalb County.
  • Joseph Zhang, “Expression of Arginase in Colitis During Recovery Confirms MDSC,”

Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science & Technology, Gwinnett County.

Previous GSEF award winners have gone on to attend prestigious universities such as Harvard, Stanford, MIT and UGA, and many currently are working on some of the nation’s major challenges, such as public health.

About the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair
The Georgia Science and Engineering Fair is sponsored by the University of Georgia, Burns & McDonnell and Georgia Public Broadcasting, which provides a live online broadcast of the awards ceremony each year. Other businesses, academic departments and associations sponsor specific prizes awarded to competitors. For more information on the competition, visit  https://www.georgiacenter.uga.edu/GSEF.

About the UGA Office of Academic Special Programs
The UGA Office of Academic Special Programs equips Georgia’s pre-college students to succeed and to flourish in an increasingly complex and highly technical world by becoming problem solvers, critical thinkers, inquirers, reflective learners and more productive and influential members of their communities. For more information call 706-542-6473 or visit https://www.georgiacenter.uga.edu/youth/pre-collegiate-competitions.

Writer: Sue Myers Smith, suesmith@uga.edu

Contact: Laura Brewer, laura.brewer@georgiacenter.uga.edu