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Twenty-Seven Students Earn Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Environmental Protection Research

Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio EPA congratulate the winners of the Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Environmental Protection Research. Twenty-seven seventh thru 12th grade students were selected as part of State Science Day. Judging was conducted virtually over several days in May and June.

“We are very proud of these young scholars who will be leading scientific research and innovations in the future in ways we can’t even imagine today,” said Governor DeWine. “The scholarships are a great investment by our state because they will help these future leaders complete their education and begin their careers. Congratulations to all the winners and participants from across Ohio — keep up the good work!.”

Seniors Emily Kruse, Bloom Carroll High School in Carroll, and Lohith Savardekar, Dublin Coffman High School in Dublin; junior Carsyn Hagans, Archbold High School in Archbold; and eighth grader Kara Jones, Central Christian School in Kidron, are two-time winners of the Governor’s Award.

State Science Day is organized and sponsored by the Ohio Academy of Science and is the equivalent of a state championship for science projects. The primary objective of State Science Day is to provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate their abilities and interests in science through individual experimentation and research.

This year’s Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Environmental Protection Research recipients are:

7th Grade

  • First Place: Jake Baron, Catholic Central School, Springfield, A Solar Pool Heater Design Concept
  • Second Place: Winifred Bodin, Benjamin Logan Middle School, Bellefontaine, Biological and Chemical Assessment of Various Locations on the Mad River Over Three Years
  • Third Place: Michael Zhu, New Albany Intermediate School, New Albany, Ethanol vs Gasoline: Which Fuel is more environmentally friendly?
  • Honorable Mention: Mary Cunningham, Ridgewood School, Springfield, Soil Secrets

8th Grade

  • First Place: Kara Jones, Central Christian School, Kidron, Treating plants with mycorrhizae can reduce nutrient levels in runoff and prevent water pollution
  • Second Place: Emily Carr, John Sells Middle School, Dublin, Things Are Getting Heated
  • Third Place: Mary Buzek, Bishop Leibold School, Dayton, Fossil Fuels vs Renewable Fuels
  • >Honorable Mention: Anna Blair, St. Louis School, Owensville, The Effect of Filter Material for Filtering Soil from Water

9th Grade:

  • First Place: Calista France, Sycamore High School, Cincinnati, Durability of Biodegradable Bioplastics
  • Second Place: Javeria Shaikh, Dayton Regional STEM School, Kettering, Eco-Friendly Water Filtration
  • Third Place: William Kohut, Lakewood High School, Hebron, The Effect of Common Household Cleaning Chemicals on Bacterial Growth
  • Honorable Mention: Joseph Wright & Luke Doseck, Dayton Regional STEM School, Kettering, Designing a Domestic Cross-Flow Turbine

10th Grade:

  • First Place: Neha Pasupuleti, Dayton Regional STEM School, Kettering, Algal Bloom? More Like Algal Doom!
  • Second Place: Luca Gagliano, Athens High School, The Plains, Growing Sustainable Packaging Material with Mycelium and Agricultural Waste
  • Third Place: Johan Demessie, William Mason High School, Mason, Removing Chromium (VI) from Contaminated Water using a Low-Cost Chitosan Coated Diatomaceous Earth
  • Honorable Mention: Tanya Keskar & Janu Gadthula, William Mason High School, Mason, Clean Energy with an Affordable Hydrogen Fuel Cell

11th Grade:

  • First Place: Carsyn Hagans, Archbold High School, Archbold, The Effect of Light Pollution on Diel Vertical Migration in Daphnia
  • Second Place: Allie Carter, Bloom Carroll High School, Carroll, The Study of Particulate Matter in Household Settings
  • Third Place: Ethan Rohrs, Patrick Henry High School, Hamler, Toxicity of Oxybenzone, Mineral-Based, and Oxybenzone Free Sunscreen on Daphnia Magna
  • Honorable Mention: Dylan Berr, The University School, Chagrin Falls, Strengthening Hydrophilic, Biodegradable Materials Using Chitosan and Cellulose

12th Grade:

  • First Place: Rachael Tomasko, Padua Franciscan High School, Parma, The potential of Elophila obliteralis larvae (waterlily leadcutter moth) as a biological control for the invasive aquatic plant Nymphoides peltate (yellow floating heart)
  • Second Place: Caylee Combs & Brynn McGrail, Rutherford B. Hayes High School, Delaware, Lemna minor Fertilizer as an Alternative to Commercial Fertilizer for the Growth and Runoff Quality of Glycine max
  • Third Place: Lohith Savardekar, Dublin Coffman High School, Dublin, Exploring the fuel efficiency and environmental impact of Genetically modified soybean biodiesel
  • Honorable Mention: Emily Kruse, Bloom Carroll High School, Carroll, Quantifying Indoor Atmospheric Microplastic Pollution Using Dust Particle Samples

Each year, approximately 10,000 students from across Ohio participate in local science fairs and are judged on knowledge achieved, effective use of scientific method, clarity of expression, originality, and creativity. Students who achieve superior ratings are invited to participate in district science fairs. More than 1,200 students from grades 5-12 participate in State Science Day and may be eligible for nearly 100 scholarships and awards valued at more than $4 million.

Ohio EPA employees were among judges for the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Environmental Protection Research. Each recipient will receive a $100 prize and a certificate signed by Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson.


The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.

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