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Advancing Sustainability at the CT Science and Engineering Fair

Pi Day, March 14th could not have been a more appropriate day for the holding of the annual awards ceremony for the CT State Science and Engineering Fair (CSEF). 
Grace Herrick ’17, (daughter of Dr. Charles and Mrs. Ana-Cristina Herrick of Sandy Hook, CT) was making her fourth trip as an award winner since middle school. The CSEF is one of the most prestigious fairs in the country, this year, its 67th, hosting 514 juried projects for 628 middle and high school students from 120 schools and regional fairs around the state.

Grace, whose interest is primarily in the many faces of sustainability, had as her project “A Novel Solar-Powered Photobioreactor Design for Wastewater Treatment and Producing Biofuel from Micro-Algae.” If the title, by itself, minus the months of rigorous scientific work, is daunting for non-scientists, the apparatus is disarmingly lightweight, with a minimum of moving parts. The illuminator is comprised of a red and blue LED light to make photosynthetically active radiation and was coupled to a light guide. When lit, the illuminator glows bright pink. People involved in the wastewater treatment industry have already shown interest in her work.

Last year, Grace’s project won a Bronze Medal in the Resources and Energy Category representing Connecticut at the International Genius Olympiad in upstate New York. This year she received the Arthur Mensing Award for Excellence in the Physical Sciences which included a $1,000 prize. In addition she was invited to submit her research for publication in a scientific journal and to compete in a Sustainability Competition to be held in Sweden later this year.  We wish her well.

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Founded in 1850 by abolitionist, educator, and outdoorsman Frederick Gunn, The Gunnery is a coeducational college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9 through 12/post-graduate. Dedicated teacher-mentor-coaches challenge students to reach their full potential in a home-like setting where character and citizenship are valued as much as intellect and achievement. Individualized attention and high expectations help young learners develop not only the skills and confidence they will need in college, but also the moral compass and love of learning that will serve them well in life. The school attracts ambitious, academically curious students who will both shine as unique individuals and thrive as contributing members of a deeply connected community. By the time they graduate, Gunnery students have become well rounded, grounded young adults with a sharpened sense of who they are and who they want to become.