Science shines bright in Sussex County

Young researchers display their work at annual fair
Beacon Middle School eighth-grader Genna Burton explains her project to a judge during the Sussex County Science Fair. BY MELISSA STEELE
March 19, 2013

Some students used science to study everyday life. Others looked at ways to improve communities. All of the students who participated in the annual Sussex County Science Fair got a chance to present their project to a panel of volunteer judges and hear some feedback on their work.

Seventh- to 12th-grade students from across Sussex County met at the Biden Center in Cape Henlopen State Park March 4 to present their projects.

Beacon Middle School eighth-grader Genna Burton researched traffic patterns at the Rehoboth Avenue traffic circle for her project.

"I'm not sure the traffic circle is working well," she said.

Genna said she observed traffic merging in and out of the traffic circle during the fall and winter months. During that time, she said, she watched 1,000 vehicles merge in and out of the circle; she kept statistics on which vehicles merged and which ones did not.

Her findings? About half the Delaware cars merged properly; the other half did not. Maryland cars had the best record for merging; Maine had the worst.

Genna said she hoped to advance to regional competition, but if her project caught the eye of the Department of Transportation, she would be happy.

"I'm hoping to present this to DelDOT," she said.

Nearby, Mariner Middle School eighth-grader Alvina Afrifa set up a display detailing why more men are color blind than women.

"I came up with the idea because my brothers used to tease me about having bad eyesight," she said.

Her project helped prove her brothers wrong, a bit.

Alvina showed that cone cells that help people see colors lie in the X chromosome. Men only have one  X chromosome, increasing their chances of having a mutation and color blindness if there are problems with the cone cells on their single X chromosome. Women, on the other hand, have two X chromosomes, which doubles their chances of having healthy cone cells.

Alvina's quest to prove her brothers wrong paid off. She won third place in the eighth-grade division for her project. First place went to Colden Fees and second went to Cohen Davis, both from the Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Other winners include:

In seventh-grade, first place – Kiersten Blutzheim, second – Kira Short and third to Mia Quan, all of the Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In ninth-grade, first place – Mikayla Ockels of Sussex Central High School, second – Grace Brokaw of Cape Henlopen High School, third – Alyssa Proudfoot of Sussex Central and honorable mention to Richard Brokaw of Cape Henlopen.

In 10th-grade, first place – Kaitlin Philcox of Cape Henlopen, second – Madison MacElrevey of Cape Henlopen, third – Taite Daisey of Indian River High School and honorable mention went to David Kwan of Cape Henlopen.

In 11th-grade, first place went to Bansri Patel of Sussex Tech, second to Merrick Kovatch of Indian River, third to Mason Chambers of Sussex Central and honorable mention went to James Holding of Sussex Central.

In 12th-grade, first place winner was Katie Warington and second was Hannah Rogers, both from Sussex Central.

Students who placed in the Sussex competition qualify to compete in a regional competition in April, said Helen Gieske, co-chair of the Sussex County Science Fair.

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