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    UWG hosts middle and high school science fair

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    Press release by Colton Campbell:

    Chapel Hill Middle School students shined at this year’s West Georgia Regional Science and Engineering Fair, earning both grand and reserve grand prizes.

    Hosted by the University of West Georgia, the 19th annual fair brought nearly 60 student presentations from 15 regional schools to compete. Judged by volunteers, the highest scoring projects compete at state finals before potentially competing internationally in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

    Isabella Naile, a seventh-grader at the Douglasville middle school, earned the grand prize for her presentation “Photocatalytic Water: Treatment for Developing Countries.” Andrea Torres-Wilcken earned the reserve grand prize for her project, a system devised to maintain healthy fish in their aquariums during time away called “Auto-Aquarium.”

    Both Naile and Torres-Wilcken were awarded high-quality reflector telescopes.
All participants made a great achievement by getting as far as the regional competition, having earned their way through school and county fairs.

    Furthermore, students gained first-hand experience in skills such as presentation, construction and, of course, a more rigorous approach to analysis and research methodology.

    “For a lot of these kids, this is their first foray into scientific method,” said Benjamin Jenkins, senior lab coordinator for the UWG Department of Physics as well as director of the fair. 
Projects ran the gamut, including comparison of consumer goods such as toothpaste and battery brands, and experiments in robotics, electronics, animal behavior, and ecology.

    The fair itself was not without its own technological advances. In previous years, judges depended on a pencil and paper rubric to assess projects. With a variety of criteria such as data collection, analysis, quality of research question, presentation and more, the process could be cumbersome.

    This year, thanks to a donation from the UWG College of Science and Mathematics, judges used a simple and potentially more accurate mobile app developed with no additional fee for students.

    “We are very happy we are able to keep our entry fee quite low, especially compared to other regional science and engineering fairs,” Jenkins said.

    Assistant directors Dr. Stacey Britton of the UWG College of Education and Megan Mayercik of the UWG Department of Chemistry contributed additional assistance in making the science and engineering fair a success.
    CUTLINE: Isabella Naile and Andrea Torres-Wilcken, both of Chapel Hill Middle School in Douglasville, were the big winners at this year’s West Georgia Regional Science and Engineering Fair, hosted by the University of West Georgia. Naile, a seventh-grader, earned the grand prize for her presentation “Photocatalytic Water: Treatment for Developing Countries.” Torres-Wilcken earned the reserve grand prize for her project, a system devised to maintain healthy fish in their aquariums during time away called “Auto-Aquarium”.

    UWG serves more than 13,500 students from across Georgia, 37 other states and 72 countries. Perennially ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top national university, West Georgia offers 88 fields of study, including business, nursing, education, STEM, social sciences and the arts. It generates a regional economic impact of nearly $520 million and provides a safe, quality and affordable college experience that transforms lives.

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    Born and raised in Carrollton, Ga., Colton Campbell has always been a writer. After graduating with a degree in journalism from Auburn University in 2011, he served for more than five years in the trenches of print journalism before starting a career as communications specialist in higher education. In his current role at the University of West Georgia, Colton covers the Richards College of Business, facilitates presidential communication and manages media relations. In his spare time, he enjoys working through Stephen King’s bibliography, playing board games with his wife and taking care of their two dogs.