The 15th annual Dr. Ying Science Competition is in the books and two was the lucky number for Brevard County's Sarah Van Sickle of Satellite High School.

Sarah was in last year's contest when she finished as a runner up, but the additional year of research won her the 2013 competition. She was awarded a trophy, a $5,000 cash scholarship plus $1,000 awards for her science teacher and her school.

Her efforts improved on the design of the antenna, which is based on fractal geometry and receives both UHF and VHF frequencies for less money than the cost of a commercial device. Since broadcast television is an important communications tool, this research could enable everyone to have access to multiple over-the-air transmissions at a fraction of the cost. This research would be especially valuable for those living in remote areas, Third World countries or people in post-disaster areas where cable or satellite transmissions are inaccessible.

In addition to the top award, the competition presented two cash prizes for finalists to continue their research for another year.

Seminole County’s Nirva Vassa, a freshman from Seminole High School, was recognized for increasing the retention of Vitamin C in fresh orange juice using high frequency sound energy, removing oxygen from the headspace of an amber glass container and adding an enzyme inhibitor found in green tea. When all these factors are combined, she can increase the vitamin potency and shelf life of the orange juice. The enzyme inhibitor stops the degradation of Vitamin C and has benefits for those with cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis.

Polk County’s Divya Ravinder, a freshman at Bartow High School, developed a process that treats hypoxia in water, which is lack of oxygen. Bodies of water that suffer nutrient pollution—when phosphates or nitrates get into the water from industrial wastewater or agricultural runoff—develop algae and when that algae dies, the bacteria that decomposes it eats up all the oxygen in the water creating a dead zone. Ravinder’s process filtered and aerated water to increase its oxygen levels, allowing it to support life again.

Observe the slideshow that captures the awards ceremony held at Fulton's Crab House at Downtown Disney on Sunday, April 28.


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