DANBURY, CONN. — Three participants in the “Finding Our Way” program at Western Connecticut State University are among the winners in the 2019 Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair held March 11-16, 2019, at Quinnipiac University in Hamden. They are Khushi Parikh, Shristi Ramakrishnan and Sharva Karthikeyan, all from Danbury.
Khushi Parikh, a ninth grader at Danbury High School, presented her project, “Engineering a Polylectic Biomimetic Micro Aerial Vehicle to Pollinate Flowers.” The research earned Parikh several honors, including a Petit Family Foundation Women in Science & Engineering Award, Second Place, High School; CASE PepsiCo Urban School Challenge Award with IBM, Senior High Finalist; and a Meyer and Young Woman Scientist Award, High School, Physical Sciences.
As a seventh grader in 2017, Parikh won first prize in the “Finding Our Way” Stewardship Competition for her project, “Chemical Fertilizer is Ruining the World.”
Srishti Ramakrishnan, in eighth grade at the Westside Middle School Academy, presented “The Study of Effectiveness of Different Separation Methods in Removing Suspended Microplastics from Water.” Ramakrishnan’s work earned her the following recognition: CSF Finalist, Physical Sciences, Eighth Grade; Petit Family Foundation Women in Science & Engineering Award, First Place, Middle School; Urban School Challenge Award, First Place, Middle School; Environmental Sciences Awards, Third Place; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Award; Talcott Mountain Science Center & Academy, Founder’s Award; Air and Waste Management Association Connecticut Chapter Award; and GENIUS Olympiad Competition (Oswego, New York) for Highest Placing USC Eighth Grade Project.
In 2018, as a seventh grader, Ramakrishnan won first prize in the “Finding Our Way” Stewardship Competition for her project, “The Environmental Harm Caused by Microbeads in Consumer Products.” Her winning 2019 Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair entry further explores this topic and offers a mitigation approach.
Sharva Karthikeyan, also in eighth grade at the Westside Middle School Academy, studied “Impact of Microwave-irradiated Plastic on Microbiological Health Indices.” His work earned him an Urban School Challenge Award, Middle School Finalist.
As a member of the 2018 “Finding Our Way” class, Karthikeyan’s stewardship project investigated “How Plastic Pollution Affects Candlewood Lake.” His winning 2019 Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair entry continues his research into plastics.
WCSU Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. Dora Pinou is director of the “Finding our Way” program on campus.
With a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Pinou brings students from Danbury and regional middle schools to WCSU for a wide-ranging educational experience focusing on water resources and ecosystem biodiversity. WCSU, Danbury Family Learning Center and Danbury Public Schools collaborate on the program, which offers 30 seventh-grade middle school students and their families a yearlong integrated environmental stewardship experience focused on New England watersheds.
“Finding Our Way” partners with WCSU’s Weather Center and The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation to study the life cycle and behavior of organisms that rely on the watershed for resources. It also partners with the NOAA Fisheries Lab in Milford, and FirstLight Power Resources to learn about sustainable clean energy such as biofuel and hydroelectric power.
“I’m extremely proud of our young scientists,” Pinou said.
To learn more about “Finding our Way” at WCSU, visit www.wcsu.edu/stem.
Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.