Science Fair winners announced

2017 Sea Island Regional Science Fair
Posted on 03/27/2017
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Monday, March 27, 2017


Student science projects earn recognition

at 2017 Sea Island Regional Science Fair


BEAUFORT – More than 300 Beaufort County students, all top finishers at individual school science fairs across the county, competed for honors at the 2017 Sea Island Regional Science Fair.


Six Beaufort County School District students won first-place awards in their respective categories, including one middle school student who earned “Best in Show” honors:

  • Jackie O’Riordan (H.E. McCracken Middle) Zoology/Medicine – “Antibiotic Resistance” earned Best-in-Show honors (HEMMS)
  • Alora Orr (River Ridge Academy) Botany/Microbiology – “Powerful Nuts”
  • Calvin Bernstein (Hilton Head Island Middle) Math/Engineering – “Building a Life-Size BB-8”
  • August Rios (Bluffton Middle) Physics – “The Effect of the Water-to-Air Ratio in a Submarine to its Buoyancy”
  • Luke McGuire (Beaufort High) Zoology/Medicine – “Listening to Differences: Analyzing Bat Feeding Behavior” earned the Rob & Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiative as well as the Intel Excellence in Computer Science Award.
  • Maile Paulmeier (Bluffton High) Math/Engineering – “A Comparative Analysis of Alternative Heating Methods of an Artificial Nylon Muscle”

By virtue of their first-place finishes, McGuire and Paulmeier will travel to Los Angeles in May to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.  O’Riordan will also make the trip as middle school-level observer.


The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, with more than $4 million in college scholarships and prize awards, is expected to draw more than 1,700 student competitors from 75 countries.  More than 7 million students competed at the local level.


“We’re so proud of these young people and their extraordinary work,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss.  “The creativity and scholarship and hard work that go into these projects are amazing.”


First, second, third and honorable mention honors were awarded in categories of botany and microbiology; chemistry and biochemistry; environmental science; mathematics, engineering and computer science; physics; social and behavioral science; and zoology and medicine in both the high school and middle school divisions.


The independent nonprofit Sea Island Regional Science Fair’s mission is to “identify, encourage and support student talent in the physical, biological, engineering and behavioral sciences.” 


Each year its volunteers judge about 25 individual school fairs in addition to regional fairs for elementary, middle and high school students.  Its pool of about 50 judges is composed mostly of retired engineers, scientists and doctors who volunteer their time between November and April to help support science in education through science fairs and other activities.