Wednesday, May 28, 2014

DC Students Place in National EnvironMentors Fair

The National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) EnvironMentors has announced the winners of the State Science Fair for the District of Columbia and the national competition. Taking the top honor for state was Xiu Chen, and second place went to Beza Dagnachew, both from the School Without Walls. Tianna Solomon took third place. The three D.C. champions participated—and placed—in the national competition held May 19, which was moderated by Dr. Dwane Jones, director, Center for Sustainable Development. 

In the National Fair, Tianna Solomon placed third nationally with her project: “The Effect of Air Pollution on Blackworm Skin Cells” and received a scholarship valued at $800. Placing fifth was Xiu Chen with “The Effects of Heavy Metal Toxins in Drinking Water on Lumbriculus variegates: Heart Rate, Cell Regeneration and Mortality,” for which she received $500. Beza Dagnachew also received the Leach Environmental Stewardship $500 award for “Portable Charger: Thin-film and Nanotechnology.”  

“I watched with pride as the three DC winners placed in the national competition,” said Dr. Jones, who also served as the keynote speaker for the event. “This is an extraordinary achievement and I’m confident that all three will continue to make great achievements in the fields of STEM and environmental science.”

Founded in 1992 as an environment-based mentoring program, EnvironMentors has 12 chapters across the country. The program encourages underserved youth to explore environmental education by using a hands-on, integrated program where scientific methodology is used to identify environmental issues.

Throughout the academic year, students work with mentors to develop environmental science projects based on relevant environmental circumstances in their communities. Upon completion of their research projects, they develop lesson plans and present to an elementary school class, at local science fairs and the state fair. The top three students from each chapter travel to Washington, D.C., to present their project at the National EnvironMentors Fair, where they have a chance to compete for college scholarships.

“This was an exciting competition and all of the participants were extremely well prepared to compete by their mentors,” said Rebecca Bankhead, director, the Center for 4-H and Youth Development.

Over the past 10 years, EnvironMentors has connected over 1850 students with mentors, has awarded over 150 scholarships worth $130,000, and has expanded to include 12 chapters across the country.

DC Environmentors is affiliated with the Center for 4-H and Youth Development, a landgrant center under UDC’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences. For more information, contact Ms. Rebecca Bankhead at  

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