Oxford Students Win Big at Regional and State Science Fairs

MSEF Region VII Upper Fair and State Fair 2021 awards announced

Oxford High School senior Fawaz Ahmad brought home the Best of Fair prize in the senior division of the statewide Mississippi Science Fair, conducted virtually this month. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The science fair season has been going full blast this year, even virtually. Students from across a 13-county region recently participated in the Region VII Mississippi Science and Engineering Fairs and the Mississippi Science and Engineering Fair.

The MSEF Region VII virtual science fairs are hosted by the University of Mississippi Office of Pre-College Programs. The statewide science fair was hosted this year by Delta State University’s Office of Continuing Education.

The MSEF Region VII Upper Fair concluded March 24 with an awards announcement video that was sent out to all participating schools. Student projects placing first, second and third at the regional fair advanced to the statewide fair. Those winners were announced April 6.

Oxford High School students receiving top awards in the competitions, as well as scholarship funding to attend Ole Miss summer programs, include: Fawaz Ahmad, Best of State Fair, Best of Fair Region VII and International Science and Engineering Fair finalist; Keerthin Karthikeyan, Best of Fair Region VII and ISEF finalist; and William Berry IV, Best of Fair Alternate Region VII, ISEF finalist, Society for Science Community Innovation award-winner, NASA Earth System Science Award and Justice Manning Award for Environmental Science runner-up.

Ahmad, Berry and Karthikeyan all will have an opportunity to represent the state at the upcoming Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair, which will be conducted virtually this summer by the Society for Science. The international fair hosts more than 1,800 students from across the globe, all competing for top awards, scholarships, fellowships and research publication.

Ahmad will present his project, “Aircraft Redesigned,” which explores the aerodynamic qualities of fish and applies them to aircraft designs.

Karthikeyan’s project, “Potential Treatment Targets for Covid-19: A Virtual Screening,” takes a look at identifying potential treatment drug targets that could inhibit spike protein and/or ACE2 protein binding toward a cure of COVID-19 through virtual screening methods.

Along with attending the international fair with his project, “Removing Harmful Nitrates from Bodies of Fresh Water through Biosorption,” Berry also received the Community Innovation Award and a $500 award voucher, presented by the Society for Science, in recognition of his research that addresses an issue in the Oxford area.

In the middle school division, the following Oxford Middle School student brought home awards: Alexandra Ritchie, Best of Class III; and Mennah Ibrahim, Best of Class III Alternate.

Ritchie presented her project, “Can Thin Layer Chromatography detect differences in Caffeine Concentrations in Beverages,” which measures caffeine concentrations using thin-layer chromatography.

Ibrahim’s project, “Hidden Bodyguards in Our Kitchen,” explored antifungal properties of culinary spices.

The UM Office of Pre-College Programs offers a variety of programs throughout the year for elementary, middle and high school students, including academic competitions, summer programs and the UM Online High School.