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NIOSH NPPTL Presents Awards at the 2014 Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Nearly 1,100 students from more than 100 schools participated in the 75th Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair (PRSEF). The competition includes research projects in fields science, mathematics, and engineering. The competition is open to all students in grades 6 through 12 from 23 counties in Western Pennsylvania, three counties in West Virginia, and Garrett County in Maryland.

The Science fair’s mission is to connect young scientists and engineers with professionals in the field. PRSEF is a major initiative of the Carnegie Science Center’s Chevron Center for STEM education and Career Development. This program excites and inspires students to explore regional, cutting-edge STEM topics and careers.

This is the first time NIOSH has participated as an award sponsor. Maryann D’Alessandro, Roland Berry Ann, and Ron Shaffer from NPPTL served as judges and awarded the $50 NIOSH awards to Sanjana Adurty, a 10th grader at The Ellis School, for her project COPD Due to Air Pollution, and to Luke Gallagher, an 8th grade student at St. Thomas Moore School for his project Does Green Really Clean?

COPD due to Air Pollution

In this project, I plan to find out how air pollution affects the prevalence of COPD in non-smoking citizens of the United States and India. I will ask volunteers to respond to a questionnaire, documenting place of residence, existing respiratory problems, and other similar factors. Then, the volunteer will exhale into a peak expiratory flow meter, and then use the Nhanes III Peak Expiratory Flow tables to analyze results. I hypothesize that COPD will be more prevalent in India because there is more pollution there than in the United States. This project has no risks for the volunteers

Does Green Really Clean?

Green is in! Green, or environmentally friendly, has become the wave of the future in many products. Disinfectants are no exception. This experiment was intended to discover if green cleaners are as effective as chemical cleaners. Therefore, the problem to be studied in this investigation is: are green cleaners as effective in killing bacteria as chemical cleaners? My hypothesis is that green cleaners are not going to be as effective because they use less effective biocides than traditional cleaners. This experiment has a very practical application because it will help people decide what disinfectants they want to use in their house. The procedure that will be used is: Prepare plates and streak with bacteria, then immediately transport to incubator and set at 37 degrees Celsius. Remove plates from incubator, measure zone of inhibition and record type and count. Repeat three times. This project required the guidance of a research microbiologist and the use of a science lab at an area high school. The data and conclusion are yet to be determined.

The 76th Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair will be held March 27-28, 2015.
Registration forms and guidelines will be available in late August.