Munster students take top honors; other high achievers hail from St. John, Dyer, Gary

Gary, IN 3-16-2011 – A total of 115 student scientists from 22 Lake County schools demonstrated their science and engineering expertise to judges on Saturday at the 55th Calumet Regional Science Fair and Associated Art Exhibit at Indiana University Northwest.

Munster High School’s Santhosh Narayan and her teammates from New York, Nikhil Mehandru and Sonya Prasad, took top honors in the senior division with their project, “Engineering Nanoscale Biosensors with Thermoreversible Hydrogels for a Dual Therapy of Cancer Detection and Tumor-Targeted Drug Delivery,” in which they developed nano-tubules that would recognize and deliver medicine to cancer cells only.

Nathan Kondamuri of Munster High School earned second place in the senior division with his project, “Development of a Novel Glucose/Oxygen Biofuel Cell,” in which he engineered a fuel cell aimed at reducing the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Michelle Chung of Munster High School took home the third place prize in the senior division with her alternative energy source project entitled, “Liquid Fuels from Bio-mass:  A New Electrocatalytic Upgrading Scheme.”

The fourth and fifth place senior division finishers both attend Lake Central High School in St. John. Kaylyn Risse attempted to determine, “Can Autoinducers Inhibit Bacterial Growth?” and Sachin Aggarwal looked at the problem of “Dietary Fibers and Diabetes.”

The sixth through 10th place achievers in the senior division all attend Lew Wallace High School in Gary. They are: Alexa Dennie, Lyshameka Martin, Everett Barry, Jeremy Bell, and James Anderson.

All were sponsored by Yolanda Hall.

Local finishers in the junior and elementary divisions were Samantha McCuaig from Kahler Middle School in Dyer (sponsored by Kelly Gravely) who took first place in the junior division, and Annie Ostojic of Frank Hammond School in Munster who took first place in the elementary division.

The elementary division is comprised of grades 1 through 5; the junior division grades 6 through 8 and the senior division grades 9 through 12.

Each division is then subdivided into eighteen categories, including: animal science, social and behavior science, biochemistry, chemistry, cellular biology, computer science, electrical engineering, earth and space science, environmental analysis, environmental management, energy and transportation, bio-engineering, math, medicine and health science microbiology, physics and astronomy, team, and plant science.

Next year’s Calumet Regional Science Fair and Associated Art Exhibit is scheduled for March 9, 10, and 11 at Indiana University Northwest.

For more information, including a full list of the fair’s participants, contact Linda Wozniewski, vice president of the Regional Science Fair and Associated Art Exhibit, at (219) 980-6637 or


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