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Local science students win big at state fair

SUWANEE -- Some of Gwinnett County's own recently scored first-place finishes at the state science fair in Athens. In addition, another 25 local students earned second place at the event.

During the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair, students Ryan Bhowmik, Vivek Patel, William Bowling, Katelyn Leka, Sergio Parra and Aprotim Bhowmik scored top spots. In addition, Patel, Aprotim Bhowmik, Christina To and Katherine Li will be invited to an international event based on their performance during the fair.

The school district's director of science said he was happy with the accomplishments of the Gwinnett County Public Schools students.

"It is great to see the strong scientific foundation laid in the classroom lead to real-world success in science and engineering," said Jonathon Wetherington.

The six first-place winning students included Ryan Bhowmik, an eighth-grader at Trickum Middle. His project, Factors Affecting Erosion of Soils was in the Engineering: Materials and Bioengineering category.

Patel, a student of Collins Hill High School, entered his project, ASCL3 is a Novel Target of the CKD2 Kinase. In addition to earning first place, judges also selected Patel's project as one of the top 10 in Georgia.

Bowling and Leka, both of Collins Hill High, won for their project, Sterilizing Contaminated Water with UV Rays through Fiber Optics. The juniors competed in the Environmental Sciences Category.

Parra, a Mill Creek High School student, won for his project, Sewage Powered Suburbia. A 10th grader, he competed in the Energy and Transportation category.

Aprotim Bhowmik, a Parkview High student, won for Arterial Hemodynamics in Atherosclerosis Patients, competing in the Medicine and Health Sciences category. His project was selected as one of the top 10 in Georgia.

In addition to the first- and second-place winners, local students got 21 special awards highlighting excellence in specific areas of research. Among them, Li of Peachtree Ridge High, who was awarded the Merial ISEF Trip Observer Award. She will travel to the international fair in May to observe.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair takes place from May 13-18, in Pittsburgh, Pa.