Provided by Prince William County Service Authority
The Prince William County Service Authority Board of Directors recently presented its organizational award winners for the 2021 Prince William-Manassas Regional Science & Engineering Fair. The Service Authority awards recognize middle school and high school students who submit exceptional water and environmental-related projects for the annual educational fair.
St. Francis of Assisi School eighth-grader Victoria Salley took first place in the Middle Division with her experiment on the effectiveness of differently priced water filters for hikers. The team of Tyson Limato, Keira Schoolcraft and Brayden Wence of The Governor’s School @ Innovation Park won first place in the Senior Division with “Project Proteus: Fluid Dynamics Analysis of Modular Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle.”
Salley got the idea for her experiment while volunteering at a Potomac River watershed cleanup. In addition to purchasing water filters, she used a meter to measure the amount of total dissolved solids in her water samples and used a well water testing kit to check for the presence of bacteria and 16 other specific chemicals.
After 12 days of experimentation, Salley found that the more expensive filters didn’t work as well as the cheaper ones in filtering out bacteria. However, none of the filters she used were able to safely remove the lawn care chemicals she placed in her samples to pollute the water.
“The cheaper filter performed better on every test when compared to the more expensive filter,” said Salley. “This was especially evident in the tests that checked for bacteria in the water.”
Other Service Authority organizational award winners included Claudia Martin of the Nokesville School; Brandon Mollinedo of Parkside Middle School; Sara Moussavi and Nikki Alemzadeh of Benton Middle School; Vinay Bhakthan, Mehreen Rahman and Pearl Raichura of The Governor’s School; Cassidy Dailly of Osbourn Park High School; and Shaheer Altaf of Patriot High School.
“Each year, I am more and more impressed with the caliber of entries,” said Service Authority Education & Outreach Coordinator Audrey Arnold, who has coordinated the organization’s judging and awards process for the last four years. “It feels great to recognize the talented young scientists of Prince William County and the City of Manassas.”