Science Stars Shine at Orlando Science Center | Eye on Orlando

Science Stars Shine at Orlando Science Center


Presenting 12th Annual Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition

Celebrating the Exemplary Achievements of Local Science Students

April 29 -May 1, 2011

Since 1999, Dr. Nelson Ying, local scientist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, has partnered with the Orlando Science Center to celebrate the exemplary achievements of local science students. From April 29- May 1, five finalists from area high schools will compete for the coveted “Ying Prize” during the Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition. The Grand Prize winner also receives a $5000 scholarship and an award of $1000 for the student’s science teacher or mentor and another $1,000 for the winner’s school.

To compete in the Ying competition, each entrant must perform a research project that has the ultimate goal of benefiting humanity.  Previous entries have investigated treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, faster delivery of mechanisms for medicine, and solutions for beach erosion, just to name a few. Projects reports are submitted and reviewed by a distinguished panel of judges, including current and retired engineers, scientists, educators and Dr. Ying himself.

Five finalists are selected each year to then present their findings before the judges’ panel. This year, the project topics range from Computer Science to Environmental Sciences and reflect Central Florida’s role an emerging leader in the science and technology industry. This year’s finalists include winners of previous science fair competitions at the county and state level. They include:

·       Neel Sanjav Patel of Seminole County’s Oviedo High School. He is back for a second year as a Ying Finalist and was a first place finisher at last year’s Florida Science and Engineering Fair. His project is titled “An Analysis of Listener Perception and Visual Replication of Sonification: A Third Year Study.”

·       Kristen Clayton of Brevard County’s Viera High School. She won “Best of Show” in this year’s Brevard Mainland Regional Science and Engineering Fair. Her project is titled “Determining the Starch Content of Lemna minor in Relation to Nitrate and Phosphate Levels – Year 2.”

·       Collin McAliley of Brevard County’s Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High School. Colin’s research tests a method for protecting the wild life on Florida’s waterways from toxic algal blooms. Colin won the Ying Competition in 2009 and 2010. This year’s entry is titled “Florida Harmful Algal Bloom, Mitigation. Year 7: Detection of PbTx-3 Via Cysteine-Induced Gold Nanoparticle Aggregation Inhibited by BTX-B2 Formation.”

·       Deepak Sathyanarayan of Volusia County’s Spruce Creek High School. His project is an extension of research he started at the University of Florida in the summer of 2009 on the way plant cells defend themselves against infection by pathogens such as bacteria. It is titled, “Analysis of Salicylic Acid Metabolism Mutants: A Two-Year Study to Lower Environmental Susceptibility of Arabidopsis Thaliana to Disease and Pathogens.”

·       Alex Keeler, Sumter County’s South Sumter High School. He was awarded a four-year scholarship to the Florida Institute of Technology at this year’s Florida State Science and Engineering Fair. His project is titled “Fighting Fire with Fire: The Natural Age For Humanity: The Effects of Pepper Juice vs. Vancomycin and Colloidal Silver on MRSA Inhibition and Cell Degradation, Yr.IV.”

On Friday, April 29, the finalists will tour the Minute Maid Laboratories in Apopka and then see the UCF Nanotechnology Department. On Saturday, April 30, finalists will defend their research before the judges’ panel at the Orlando Science Center and then get a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility. On Sunday, May 1, the event will culminate in an announcement of the Grand Prize winners on Sunday at an awards luncheon at Fulton’s Crab House at Downtown Disney.

Typically, the grand prize will only go to one winner, but often Dr. Ying and the judges will feel more than one student is worthy of acclaim. In the past, there have been multiple Grand Prize winners. When that happens, rather than split the Grand Prize, Ying has awarded equal cash prizes.

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