Students from across the Nutmeg state won awards at the Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair (CSEF) during last Saturday’s (March 18) ceremony at Quinnipiac University.

Among winners in the various categories was one Wilton 8th grader, Middlebrook student Anika Bhagavatula, who competed in the 8th Grade Life Sciences category with an entry titled, “A Novel Method for Oil Spill Cleanup Using Biomass.”

Bhagavatula was awarded 1st place in the Pfizer Life Sciences Awards, and won an invitation to move on to compete in the Broadcom MASTERS science fair competition. She also won the 1st place Middle School Environmental Sciences Award with CACIWC, the 1st place Middle School Sustainable Resources and Practices Award, and the Connecticut Science Teachers Association’s Marty Tafel Student Research Award–Life Sciences 8th Grade.

The Wilton middle schooler was also recognized with the Sustainable Development Award from the Ricoh Americas Corporation; the “Taking the Pulse of the Planet” Award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and an invitation to present at the CT Invention Convention as a “CIC Next Step Inventor.”

Three other Middlebrook 8th graders were entered into and participated in the CSEF competition:  Ashley Klancko, whose project, “Love me Tender,” was entered into the 8th Grade Life Sciences category; Rahul Vallabhajosula, whose project, Air Engine:  Can it be an alternative to a gasoline engine?”  was considered in the 8th Grade Physical Science category; and Rohan Vaddiraju, who competed in the 8th Grade Physical Science category as well, with the project, “Multi-Purpose Home Automated Motion Sensor.”

The CSEF competition is Connecticut’s largest science competition, and nearly $170,000 in prizes are awarded. More than 650 students in grades 7-12 from 122 schools across the state (both middle and high schools), worked diligently on the over 560 research projects that were entered in this year’s fair. From that amount, about 150 students were selected as finalists. The finalists then presented their research to nearly 300 volunteer judges from government, academia, professional societies, and industry, competing not only for the prize money and titles for for the opportunities to represent Connecticut at national and international competitions. Past fair winners have also been recognized by organizations including the MacArthur foundation, CT Women of Innovation, and Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics. CSEF is operated totally by volunteers and is generously hosted by Quinnipiac University at its Mount Carmel Campus in Hamden.