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Six from Staples take prizes at regional science fair

Six Staples High School students captured prizes in the Southern Connecticut Invitational Science and Engineering Fair Feb. 8 at Newtown High School.

Some 240 students from 11 public and private high schools competed, sponsors said. Prizes were awarded for both completed projects and for research proposals in four categories -- behavioral sciences, environmental sciences, health sciences and physical sciences.

Staples had a strong showing in environmental science categories, where four of its six prizes were won.

Staples prize winners were:

Kristen Onorato: The junior won first prize in the Environmental Proposal category for "Developmental Effects of Grafting Leguminous and Non-Leguminous Plants."

Xiaotian Zhang: The sophomore won first prize, in the Physical Proposal category for his "Sunspot Temperature Profiles as a Proxy for Magnetic Field Strength."

Virginia Gerig: The freshman won second prize in the Environmental Completed Project category for "Plant Material Effectiveness on Metal Chelators."

Dominic Wynter: The junior won second prize in the Physical Proposal category for "Orbital Stability of Multiple Hot Jupiter Planetary Systems."

Sam Chinitz: The sophomore won third prize in the Environmental Proposal category for "Optimal Braking Strategies for Energy Recovery in Autonomous Cars."

Jeffrey Burns: The senior received honorable mention in the Environmental Completed Project category for "Feeding Behavior of Squilla Empusa in the Long Island Sound."

In a keynote address, Westport resident David Pogue, host of the PBS series "NOVA ScienceNow" and other shows, shared anecdotes about frightening and humorous moments in filming and screened video that was not aired.

The fair is sponsored by the Southern Connecticut Science & Engineering Foundation, which began the competition in 2001.

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