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Schools to show off next scientists, engineers

BUFORD -- Gwinnett County parents and community members are invited to see what the next generation of scientists and engineers are learning in Gwinnett County Public Schools classrooms during the upcoming science and engineering fair.

The 2010 Gwinnett County Regional Science and Engineering Fair, which will be held on Friday, will take place at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center, 2020 Clean Water Drive in Buford. Visitors are welcome to the public open house, which begins at 3:15 p.m.

The competition features close to 200 student-researched projects in the fields of animal science, biochemistry, computer science, engineering, microbiology and physics. These projects represent 12 Gwinnett high schools, including Brookwood, Collins Hill, Dacula, Duluth, GIVE Center East, Grayson, Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology, Meadowcreek, Norcross, Parkview, Peachtree Ridge and South Gwinnett.

The 189 projects already have earned first or second place at their local school science fairs. As students seek to win at the county level, their projects will be judged by 60 Georgia professionals and scientists based on scientific quality, accuracy, creativity and experimental design, according to a news release.

Using the theme "Motivating the Next Generation of Science and Engineering Leaders," this year's event will include breakout sessions for participating students and a "Distinguished Research Forum." During this forum, guests will learn from the following Gwinnett students as they present their original research:

* Rayhnuma Ahmed of Berkmar High: "Tracking the Growth and Distribution of Immune and Cancer Cells Using Luciferase-Expressing Cells"

* Phillip Cheng of Brookwood High School: "Fire Escape -- An Evolutionary Approach to Evacuation Optimization"

* Elliott Chung of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology: "A Real-time Computer Vision System for Robot Path Planning"

* Evan Davies of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology: "Palladium Catalysts Applied to Organic Synthesis"

* Giovanni Righi of Collins Hill High School: "Styrafoam's Achilles Heel: The Effect of Oliophilic Bacteria on Styrene"

* Nicholas Shaffer of Collins Hill High School: "Graphene's Resistance Vs. Exposure to Photothermic Reduction"

* Emily Summerbell of Collins Hill High School: "Targeting the MAPK Signaling Cascade and Its Effect on Trastuzumab Resistance in Metastatic Breast Cancers"

In addition, students will also benefit from a career fair held in conjunction with the science fair. With the career fair, the school district seeks to motivate students as they learn from industry professionals. More than 20 scientists will be on hand to speak with students about future opportunities in the industry. Students will learn from professionals in a police department's CSI unit, a medical center, the airline industry and a research university.

The awards ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. Students who earn first place at the county level will move to the next round of competition -- the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair -- which will be held March 31 to April 3 in Athens. Top projects then qualify for competition in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, held from May 9 to 14 in San Jose, Calif.