APS Students Showcase Scientific Skills at 2019 Regional Science Fair

With innovative projects exploring everything from biomedical research, water filtration and plant growth, to physics, environmental and animal science, nearly 500 scholars from across Atlanta Public Schools showcased their scientific and engineering skills at the 2019 APS Regional Science Fair.

Held Jan. 23-24 at the Coan Building, this year’s science and engineering fair was sponsored by the Atlanta Public Schools Office of Science and featured projects from 442 students in elementary, middle and high school. Students flexed their mental muscles, all while exhibiting more than 300 projects in various categories, which included biochemistry, behavioral and social sciences, chemistry and plant sciences. Their projects were judged by volunteers from APS and other local organizations.

The top 26 projects will soon go on to compete at the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair in Athens, Georgia, in March, followed by the top three, which will compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona.

Aniyah Ragland, a senior at Benjamin E. Mays High School, hopes to be one of those contenders after presenting her project, “Iontophoresis-Mediated Drug Delivery to the Back of the Eye Using Microneedles,” which explored the use of an electrical field and microneedles to prevent blindness.

Aniyah said the project exposed her to other potential career possibilities.

“My project really helped open me to this amazing world of biomedical engineering,” said Aniyah, who wants to become a veterinarian. “I’m now considering minoring in biomedical engineering.”

Aniyah Ragland

Aniyah’s classmate, Brianna Jones, explored the “Encapsulation of Pancreatic Islets to Cure Type 1 Diabetes,” which examined the ability of beta cells that produce insulin to envelop pancreatic islets
(cells in the pancreas) to help protect against diabetes.

Thanks to her research, Brianna is now focused on her career ambitions.

“I used to want to become a doctor, but now I want to become a biomedical engineer,” she said. “I realize that I can still impact the medical industry though biomedical engineering.”

Dr. Rabieh Hafza, science coordinator for grades 6-12, said the students’ projects demonstrate their outstanding scientific research skills, as well as the District’s commitment to prepare students for college and career.

“These are all fantastic, amazing projects, and these are amazing kids,” Dr. Hafza said. “Many of these students are doing doctoral level research, and this science fair allows us to help diversify representation in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) field. It’s also an overnight game changer, because it can open up so many doors. Many kids end up getting unofficial acceptance letters from college.”

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