Oaks, PA – Earlier this month, the Delaware Valley Science Fairs (DVSF) turned the spotlight on the future with their 2024 flagship event, illuminating the region’s young scientific minds whose innovation and intellect promises to redefine tomorrow.

Annually, DVSF brings together 900 to 1,000 students from grades six through twelve across Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and Delaware. Each year, DVSF offers its young participants the opportunity to explore and present new scientific ideas.

“Our goal is to provide the opportunity for students to share their research with judges who are experts in their chosen STEM field and interact with their STEM peers. We hope the connections they make will serve them throughout their lives,” said Bob Solomon, the Executive Director and President of DVSF.

“DVSF is focused on encouraging students to think and solve problems. We are all about inquiry-based discovery, communication, and lifelong learning.”

Successful participants are rewarded with scholarships and prizes, recognizing their hard work and innovation. Additionally, top-performing high school students earn the chance to attend the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) held in May, where they compete for scholarships and awards totaling over $4 million.

In the senior division, Rayna Malhotra from Moravian Academy was recognized with a gold medal for the twelfth grade category. The eleventh grade category saw Xiangbin Luo of The Hill School receiving his gold medal, while Aadi Deshmukh from Moravian Academy received gold in the tenth grade category. Representing the ninth graders, Matthew Allen Lo from The Haverford School also took home a gold medal. In the middle school division, Veda Gandhi from Springhouse Middle School excelled to gold in the 6th to 8th-grade category.

Team projects were a significant highlight with Shravani Vedagiri and Advika Vuppala from High Technology High School receiving the High School Team Project gold medal. Diya Iyer and Ali Ayer from Strathhaven Middle School were awarded the Middle School Team Project gold medal.

Students competed in a wide range of project categories including Behavior & Social Science, Biochemistry, Botany, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth & Space Science, Engineering, Environmental Science, Mathematics, Medicine & Health, Microbiology, Physics, and Zoology.

Student projects went far beyond the baking soda volcanoes often associated with high school and middle school science fairs. Approaches to Alzheimer’s research, visual aids for colorblindness, AI-enabled detection of cancer, oil spill remediation, research into the antimicrobial properties of spices, and much more – a description which barely scratches the surface.

Amidst the celebration of young talent, the fair also announced this year a generous $300,000 donation from Paul Martino, the Chairman of DVSF, distributed over the next three years.

Martino said, “When I was a student the Philadelphia Inquirer was a lead sponsor, then Weston, then Drexel. Every few years a new lead sponsor is needed, and we are thrilled to be in the position to do this for the next few years.”

Martino went on to express his admiration for the fair’s participants: “These students literally are the ones that change the world. Their innovations change peoples’ lives. Getting them access to the resources they need to do their work is of the highest importance. Getting them further to meet other kids like them that are doing the same kind of work advances all involved.”

He also praised the well-roundedness of the students in their endeavors outside of the fair stating, “these are literally the best and brightest kids in the tri-state region. And most of them are not just science-focused, they also do track & field, theater, and other activities. It’s amazing to speak to them and see how articulate and passionate they are even while in middle and high school.”

As the Delaware Valley Science Fairs close another successful year and medalists head off to ISEF in May, the profound impact of this annual event on the lives of its young participants is unmistakable. The intellect and creativity of these students stretches the limits of current scientific thought and propels us all towards a future of innovation.

For more information on the fair and its winners, please visit www.dvsf.com.

Olivia DeMarco is an Editorial Associate for Broad + Liberty. She previously served as a legislative aide in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She holds a Masters in Public Policy from Temple University.

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