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Louisiana Students Excel at the 60th Annual Louisiana Science and Engineering Fair

03/28/2014 03:01 PM

BATON ROUGE – Nearly 500 middle and high school students from throughout the state competed in the Louisiana State Science and Engineering Fair on March 25-26. Students presented their projects at LSU for awards and invitations to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles.

Pictured left to right, David Luo and Venkatesh Sivaraman
Pictured left to right, David Luo and Venkatesh Sivaraman

Overall winners in the senior division, grades 9-12, were David Luo and Venkatesh Sivaraman. Luo, who attends Baton Rouge Magnet High School, won first place for his project, “Mysteries of the Euclidean Algorithm Revealed and Applications.”

Sivaraman attends Caddo Parish Magnet High School in Shreveport, and won second overall for his project, “SNAP: A Novel Algorithm for Fast Global Sequence Alignment and Database Search.”

Overall winners in the junior division, grades 6-8, were Rebecca Bell and Joshua Courtney. Bell, of Christ Episcopal School in Covington, was awarded first place for her project, “Does Distillation Affect the pH of Liquids?” Courtney, of Carmel Hill School in Monroe placed second overall for his project, “Condition Factors in Fish as Bioindicators of Oyster Overharvesting in the Calcasieu Estuary.”

St. Joseph’s Academy in Baton Rouge earned the top school award for the senior division and Glasgow Middle School, also in Baton Rouge, earned the top school award for the junior division. Top school awards were given to schools with the highest cumulative project scores.  

The Louisiana State Science and Engineering Fair, or LSEF, will send five projects to the International Science and Engineering Fair, or ISEF in Los Angeles. Approximately 27 students from the state and regional fairs will represent Louisiana in the international fair.

LSEF finalists selected to attend ISEF in Los Angeles in May were Aniko Nowakowski in the category of microbiology, Natalie Bush in the category of plant sciences, Olivia Guidry and Marygrace Duggar in the category of engineering: materials and bioengineering, all of whom attend St. Joseph’s Academy. Also selected were Morni Modi in the category of biochemistry, who attends Caddo Magnet High, and Chi Cao in the category of computer science, who attends Baton Rouge Magnet High School.

St. Joseph's Academy
St. Joseph’s Academy

Last year, Henry Lin of Caddo Parish Magnet won one of two Intel Foundation Young Scientist Awards and he won first place in the physics and astronomy division. His total prize money was $58,000 with an additional $1,000 going to his school.

“The quality of the projects this year was truly amazing and the competition was first rate,” said LSEF Director Lisa Graves. “Louisiana will be well represented at ISEF. Around 7 million students from around the world compete at school level, regional and state sciences fairs. Approximately 1,600 projects are selected to compete at ISEF from those, the most prestigious science and engineering fair in the world. Louisiana has a chance to shine once again.”

The fair was held in the LSU Student Union Royal Cotillion Ballroom, where projects were judged by LSU faculty members, judges from around the state and experts from throughout the community. Judging was conducted in 17 categories for each division.

The Louisiana State Science and Engineering Fair was sponsored by Gulf South Rotating Machinery Symposium, LSU College of Science, LSU College of Agriculture, and the Bone and Joint Clinic of Baton Rouge.

For more information on the Louisiana Science and Engineering Fair visit

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