Academy To Honor Connecticut’s Top Student Scientists Young Scientists and Engineers Take the Spotlight at Annual Awards Dinner

Hartford, CT — Connecticut’s most talented young scientists and engineers will be honored by the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering at its 33rd Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner on May 21, 2008 at the New Haven Lawn Club in New Haven, Connecticut. Winners of the 2008 Connecticut Science Fair, the 2008 Connecticut Science Challenge, the 2008 Connecticut Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, and the 2008 Connecticut Invention Convention will be recognized during the evening ceremonies.

The H. Joseph Gerber Medal of Excellence, established by the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering and sponsored by Gerber Scientific, Inc., will be awarded to the two first place winners of the Connecticut Science Fair and the first place winner of the Connecticut Science Challenge. The medal was created to recognize and honor H. Joseph Gerber’s (1924-1996) technical leadership in inventing, developing and commercializing manufacturing automation systems for a wide variety of industries, making those industries more efficient and cost-effective in a worldwide competitive environment.

The director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, Dr. Kelly Brownell, will give the keynote address.

Student winners to be honored include:

The H. Joseph Gerber Medal of Excellence:
Fionia W. Wood, North Haven High School, North Haven, CT
2008 Connecticut Science Fair – 1st Place, Life Sciences-Senior Division
Project: A Numerical Model of Late-Spiking Neurons

Theresa A. Oei, East Catholic High School, Manchester, CT
2008 Connecticut Science Fair – 1st Place, Physical Sciences-Senior Division
Project: Use of Seashells to Detoxify Lead-Contaminated Effluent and Groundwater

Ilya B. Belopolski, New Canaan High School, New Canaan, CT
2008 Connecticut Science Challenge – 1st Place
Project: The Effect of Short-Chain Fatty Acids on Gene Expression in Entamoeba histolytica

2008 Connecticut Science Challenge
1st Place – See H. Joseph Gerber Medal of Excellence award winner

2nd Place: Zachary Weiner, Staples High School, Westport CT
Project: A Detect-and-Verify Framework for Specific Face Detection

Honorable Mention: George Hansel, Greenwich High School
Project: Quantification of Photosynthetic Biomass: An Autoflourescence and Laser Scattering Approach

2008 Connecticut Junior Science and Humanities Symposium
1st Place: Rebecca Reed, Newtown High School, Newtown, CT
Project: Neural Network Activated Muscle Response

2nd Place: Antonella Lisanti, Staples High School, Westport, CT
Project: Selection of Optimal 5’ Exons to Enhance pre-mRNA Splicing

3rd Place: Eliza McNitt, Greenwich High School, Greenwich, CT
Project: Tracing the Migration of Pesticides Through the Production of Southwestern Connecticut Honey

4th Place: Ilya Belopolski, New Canaan High School, New Canaan, CT
Project: Short Chain Fatty Acid-Dependent Regulation of mRNA Translation in Entamoeba histolytica

5th PLACE: Priyanka Nakka, E. O. Smith High School, Storrs, CT
Project: Improving Low-Temperature Performance of Biodiesel

2008 Connecticut Invention Convention

Mystic Middle School, Mystic, CT: Joseph Charles & Devin White
Our Lady of the Assumption School, Fairfield, CT: Alexandra Chrupcala & Anthony Feher
Assumption School, Manchester, CT: Michelle Giola
Two Rivers Magnet Middle School, East Hartford, CT: Michael Hathaway
Pomfret Community School, Pomfret Center, CT: Kelly Huhtanen
Torrington Middle School, Torrington, CT: Stephanie Jacquemin, Nicole Kozlak & Matt O’Leary
Lyme/Old Lyme Middle School, Old Lyme, CT: Alex Kashtan
St. Joseph School, Thompson, CT: Ryan Kelly
St. Ann School, Bridgeport, CT: Timothy Pelletier
Talcott Mountain Academy, Avon, CT: Brooks Reavill
Newtown Middle School, Newtown CT: Jill Theile

Nineteen newly elected members of the Academy will also be recognized during the evening.


The Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering was chartered by the General Assembly in 1976 to provide expert guidance on science and technology to the people and to the state of Connecticut, and to promote the application of science and technology to human welfare and economic well being. For more information about the Academy, please see