Science students excel at local, regional fairs

Projects explore psychology, erosion, typography, plastics and more
April 25, 2014
Cape High sophomores Andrea Brzoska, left, and Grace Brokaw presented their science projects at the Delaware Valley Science Fair. SOURCE SUBMITTED

Twins Grace and Ricky Brokaw have a knack for science, and their talents were hard to miss at recent science fairs.

“Both Grace and Ricky are highly motivated,” said Esther Kernosh, their 10th-grade science teacher. “Both of them came up with their own ideas for their project, and also how to proceed.”

Grace's project “The Effect of Various Student Factors on Academic Performance” examined how extra-curricular activities affect a student's grades.

“I was interested in how different factors could affect my grade and other people's grades,” said Grace.

Grace surveyed Cape's entire students body as part of her research. What she found was students who participate in extra-curricular activities tend to be highly motivated and therefore they are highly motivated to make good grades in school, she said.

Grace earned a second place in the Sussex County Science Fair, qualifying her for the Delaware Valley Science Fair where she won first place in the Behavior and Social Sciences category. She also earned an American Psychological Award from the American Psychological Association.

Ricky earned a third place in the county fair and a certificate from the American Meteorological Society for his project, “Soil erosion in Delaware.”

“I wanted to do that because I go to the beach a lot,” he said.

Ricky checked the permeability of the sand at five locations in the Cape Region and found that Lewes Beach was the most likely to erode. Sand at Cape Henlopen State Park, however, was very firm and more likely to withstand erosion, he said.

The twins have entered the county science fair since seventh grade, and will no doubt be entering next year although they don't have projects lined up, yet.

“I'm going to think about it,” Grace said.

Joining the Brokaws as winners in this year's county science fair are:

In sixth-grade, first place to Aidan McAnelly from the Jefferson School for “Shipping Wars”; second place to Ian Lisle from the Jefferson School for “Raft Powered by Surface Tension”; third place to Benjamin Schrock from Greenwood Mennonite School for “Rampage Robot”; and honorable mentions to Greenwood Mennonite students Jessica Beauchamp for “Parachutes” and Renae Byler for “Pizza Test.”

In seventh-grade, first place went to Nicholas Whaley of Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences for “Soil structure and its effect on earthquake damage”; second place to Mya Donaway of Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences for “The Effect of Diet on Activity”; third place to Elias Timmons of Georgetown Middle School for “Vehicle Texture and Speed”; and honorable mentions to Kyra Cutsail of Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences for “The Effects of Font Type and Paper Color on Memory” and Gabby Guy of Georgetown Middle School for “Memory (Can you remember the back of your own hand?)”

In eighth-grade, first place went to Finn Davis of the Jefferson School for “Salty Soil: The Effects of Salt Water Intrusion”; second place to Mia Kwan of SAAS for “Is Going Green Actually Clean?”; third place to Nouman Chaudhary of Mariner Middle School for “Cell Phones and Response Time”; and honorable mention to Ayla Lahiff of the Jefferson School for “Does Name Affect Personality?”

In ninth-grade, first place went to Cohen Davis of Sussex Academy for “A windy ride”; second place went to Colden Fees of Sussex Academy for “Effect of Limestone and Concrete on the Alkalinity of Precipitation Runoff”; and third place went to Griffin McCormick of Indian River High School for “Water you drinking?”

In 10th-grade, first place went to Lance White of Cape Henlopen High School followed by Grace and Ricky for second and third. Honorable mention went to Andrea Brzoska of Cape Henlopen for “Circular Hovercraft vs. Rectangular Hovercraft Under Pressure.”

In 11th-grade, first place went to Taite Daisey of Indian River High School for “Antioxidant Activity” and second place went to Jackson Zolper of Cape Henlopen for “The Future of Farming.”

In 12th-grade Bansri Patel was the sole winner for her “Novel Study on Behavioral and Reproductive Consequences of Embryonic Exposure to BPA and BPS in the C. Elegans Model.”

Bansri has won a medal at the Delaware Valley Science Fair for three years, said Helen Gieske coordinator for the county science fair. This year she won a Silver Medal Senior Fair.

She was the only Sussex County winner qualify for the International Science and Engineering Fair to be held in May, Gieske said.

Other Delaware Valley Science Fair winners were: Georgetown Middle School's Elias Timmons who received an honorable mention in Physics; Sussex Academy's Colden Fees who won third place in Earth & Space Sciences and an Engineering Arresting Systems Corporation Award; Cohen Davis who won third place in engineering and an Exelon Generation Power Related Award; and Kyra Cutsail who won an honorable mention in behavior and social sciences and a U.S. Air Force Award.

Sussex County Special awards

Dow Chemical

Bansri Patel

Taite Daisey

Lance White

Cohen Davis

Antonia DeBastiani


Bansri Patel

Taite Daisey

Lance White

Tidewater Utilities

Kathryn Donati

Lance White

Griffin McCormick

Center for the Inland Bays

Kira Short

Colden Fees

Griffin McCormick

Delaware AG

Mara Mumford

Jackson Zolper

University of Delaware

Kathryn Donati

Finn Davis

Colden Fees

Lance White

ILC Dover

Benjamin Schrock

Ian Lisle

Jessica Beauchamp

Kevin Greenlee

Elias Timmons

Andrea Brzoska

Aaron Brown