Central Texas students compete in science festival



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Posted on February 25, 2010 at 6:40 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 25 at 7:28 PM

Some of the brightest young minds in Central Texas made the Palmer Events Center in downtown Austin a place to showcase their latest projects at this year's Regional Science Festival.

On the floor of the Palmer Events Center, there were row upon row of projects -- everything from elementary projects to high school projects. And there's no doubt about it -- these students are smart.

Kenneth Marino, a senior in high school, has been working on his robotics project for months. Being involved in the Science Festival for four years has really paid off for his educational future.

"I'm going to Georgia Tech, for an undergrad in computer engineering," said Kenneth Marino.

This regional competition will determine which students will advance to state.  With so many outstanding projects, the competition is fierce. Projects using green energy are a common theme in this years' festival.

Grant Gilberd, a high school sophomore, may have invented the next accessory for hybrid cars.

"You know how some cars, hybrids, will usually charge their car when they brake? This can charge their car when they go off a bump. Such as a bumpy road, like a speed bump," said Gilberd.

Grant plans on putting a patent on his invention.

Speaking of green technology, Anderson High School Freshman Alex Crisara's project is literally green. He's developed a system that will increase the growth of algae.

"Right now, with algae biofuels and bioplastics, the big problem is how fast you can produce algae and how dense you can produce it," said Crisara.

Using a system of tubes, Alex has found a way that light can pass through the algae. The result -- faster and thicker growing algae. More algae means more biofuels and bioplastics.

The science, especially for grade school students, is intense. That makes the job for the judges even more difficult, as they try to inspire all students.

"If I can put my own two cents worth in to that and give them a little inspiration and say, 'Hey that's a good project, I like that.' Then they may stay on that track," said Festival Judge John Mikels.

It's a track to success and education. These students, after all, are the future problem solvers and great thinkers of the world.