Winners Announced in National Science Fair for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students

First-place High School Team, Benjamin Hollingsworth and Colin Lualdi, with Mark Sommer from RIT/NTID. Photo by Mark Benjamin
Story Highlights: 
  • A total of 74 students from 20 states participated in this year's science fair.
  • Eight judges spoke with each exhibitor and reviewed their projects.
  • This is the seventh year of the science fair, to promote interest in technology, science, engineering and math among students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Winners have been announced in the 2012 RIT National Science Fair for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students held at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

More than 70 contestants from 20 states brought their exhibits to Rochester during the competition, held March 23-25, 2012.

The goal of the Science Fair, in its seventh year, is to promote interest in technology, science, engineering and math among 6th through 12th graders who are deaf or hard of hearing.

First, second and third cash prizes were awarded to middle school students, high school students and in the team division. First place winners in each division were awarded $500; second-place winners received $300 and third-place winners received $200. Each winner also received a plaque.

The winners are:

High School Individual Division

  • 1st place: Rachel Dudzik, of Durand, Mich., from Durand (Mich.) Area High School, for “Winogradsky Bottle: Applying the Research.”
  • 2nd place: Andrea Crouch, of Springfield, Mo., from the Missouri School for the Deaf, Fulton, Mo., for “Which Cleans Best: Water, Coke, Lemon Juice, Vinegar, Water with Vinegar or Dr. Pepper?”
  • 3rd place: Jaquelyn Lalescu, of The Bronx, N.Y., from Lexington School for the Deaf, Jackson Heights, N.Y., for “Healthiest Ground Meat, Which One?”

 High School Team Division

  •  1st place: Colin Lualdi, of Weston, Mass., and Benjamin Hollingsworth, of Dover, Mass., from The Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham, Mass., for “Solar Energy: Feasible Source of Power at High Altitude.”
  •  2nd place: Eric Epstein, of Tucson, Ariz., and Brennan Terhune-Cotter, of Tacoma Park, Md., from the Model Secondary School for the Deaf in Washington, D.C., for “Stop and Remember the Roses.”
  •  3rd place: Ashley Wood, of Burlington, N.J., and Lui DeConcini, of Cinnaminson, N.J., from the Marie Katzenbach School for the Deaf, Trenton, N.J., for “Juicy Distillation.”

 Middle School Individual Division

  • 1st place: Ethan Urbanski, of Libertyville, Ill., from Oak Grove School, Green Oaks, Ill., for “Battery vs. Battery.”
  •  2nd place: Decker Ayers, of Owego, N.Y., from Owego-Apalachin Middle School in Owego, for “Disaster Differential.”
  •  3rd place: Chris Thornton, of Columbus, Ohio, from Dominion Middle School in Columbus, for “Smelly Memory.”

Middle School Team Division

  • 1st place: Briona Hayes, of Darby, Pa., and Shasity Cruz, of Philadelphia, Pa., from the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Philadelphia, for “Can the Movement of Earth’s Crust Become a Future Pangaea?”
  • 2nd place: Janiah Mitchell, of Philadelphia, Pa., Yeny Reyes, of Croydon, Pa., and Amanda Ortiz, of Philadelphia , from the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Philadelphia, for  “Can We Predict Earthquakes?”
  •  3rd place: Aries Brewer, of Lakeland, Fla.,and Joline Durand, of N. Miami Beach, Fla, from the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine, Fla., for “Which Light Energy Has the Most Output?”

Plans are underway for the 2013 National Science Fair. Details will be posted on the Science Fair website.

RIT is internationally recognized for academic leadership in computing, engineering, imaging technology, sustainability and fine and applied arts, in addition to unparalleled support services for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. RIT enrolls 17,000 full- and part-time students in more than 200 career-oriented and professional programs, and its cooperative education program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation. 

NTID, one of nine colleges of RIT, was established by Congress in 1965 to provide college opportunities for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals who were underemployed in technical fields. Today, a record 1,547 students attend NTID; more than 1,350 are deaf or hard of hearing. Others are hearing students enrolled in interpreting or deaf education programs. Visit:

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