Students from around Jackson County displayed their Love of Science (this year’s theme) during the Region 8 Western Regional Science & Engineering Fair held Feb. 13-14 at Western Carolina University’s Ramsey Center.

WCU has hosted the two-day fair for decades, and it is coordinated by WCU’s Division of Educational Outreach.

More than 120 projects were submitted for judging at this year’s fair. Out of those projects, 32 have been invited to participate in the state-level competition held later this month in Raleigh.

Participants got to see a “Biology of Local Animals” presentation by Balsam Mountain Trust. There were several exhibits from WCU and other community organizations, and WCU’s mascot PAWS was seen checking out science projects and posing for pictures with the young scientists.

WCU Chancellor Kelli Brown joined the budding scientists, viewing their projects and making remarks during the awards ceremony. The Region 8 Western Regional Science and Engineering Fair is the largest STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) event held in Western North Carolina.

Jackson County winners include:

Special Award in Environmental Science: “Whatever Floats Your Boat: Reuse Your Plastics to Prevent Ocean Pollution,” Noah Menickelli, Cullowhee Valley.

WCU Project of Promise: “Kale Seed Race,” Senith De Silva, Cullowhee Valley.

Junior Biological Science B Division (grades 6-8)

First Place: “Focus In,” Caden Graning, Cullowhee Valley.

Junior Earth/environmental Science Division (grades 6-8)

First Place: “Mountain Aerosols: Testing the air quality and the soil in Western North Carolina, Mihin De Silva, Cullowhee Valley.

Junior Earth/Environmental Science Division Special Awards prizes from WCU

Special Award in Environmental Science: “Negative Erosion Control,” Jocelyn Martin, Cullowhee Valley.

Junior Engineering Division (grades 6-8)

“ELECTROFY,” Andrew Enberg and Jeremy Rivera, Cullowhee Valley.

Junior Technology Division (grades 6-8)

Honorable Mention: “AA Power,” Etona Lespier, Cullowhee Valley.

Senior Biological Science B Division (grades 9-12)

Second Place: “The Deodorant Detective: Which Deodorant Can Defeat Bacteria the Best,” Sayumi De Silva, Jackson County Early College.

Senior Technology Division (grades 9-12)

First Place: “K9 or Feline?” Keanu Ammons, Jackson County Early College.

Senior Technology Special Awards

Prizes from other organizations:

Naval Science Award: “K9 or Feline?” Keanu Ammons, Jackson County Early College.

For more information about the Region 8 Western Regional Science and Engineering Fair, visit sciencefair.wcu.edu or contact WCU’s Division of Educational Outreach at 227-7397.