Local Students Win Big at Science & Engineering Fair

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Photo by Swati Patkar
Arnav Ukidwe and Shaunak Ukidwe

Now in its 75th Diamond Year, Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair (CSEF) held its finalist award ceremony at Quinnipiac University in Hamden on March 18th, 2023. Three students from Suffield Public Schools were recognized for their achievements during this ceremony.

The team of Arnav Ukidwe and Shaunak Ukidwe, both eighth graders from SMS, earned second honors and made it to the finals winning a medallion in Stanley Black & Decker Applied Technology – Middle School category. Their project was titled “Technical and Economic Feasibility of Photovoltaic Window Shades” and entailed measuring power generation potential from photovoltaic cells placed inside or outside a typical household window. They also won four special awards including second place in Constellation Energy Awards for Excellence in clean renewable and sustainable energy, MIT Club of Hartford K-12 Initiative Award for excellence in science & technology of energy related research, both in the middle school category, and the Frank J. Link Family Award for Energy Related Research. Furthermore, they were recognized as Connecticut Invention Convention “Next Step Inventors” and got invited to compete at the 2023 Invention Convention.

The special award winners also included Emma Conway, an SHS junior, who earned third honors and won a special award from American Society of Safety Professionals, CT Valley Chapter for her project titled “The Impacts of the Permanent Implementation of Daylight Savings Time in Connecticut.” Chris Crozier and Luca Matejek, both SHS juniors, also competed and earned third honors for their project titled “Alternative Fuel Sources for Commercial Jetliners to Combat Climate Change.”

Club advisor Melanie Brown worked closely with all the participants to develop their research ideas as well as project structure and to comply with the fair guidelines.

The Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair is a yearly, statewide science and engineering fair open to all 7th through 12th-grade students residing or enrolled in Connecticut schools. An important objective of the program is to attract young people to STEM careers while developing skills essential to critical thinking. More than 100 schools and regional fairs send students to the CSEF. These students compete for the 600 available spaces at the State Fair. The fair is run by Connecticut Science Teachers Association. Judging for the fair took place over the course of two weeks and students had to present their project during virtual interviews.

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