STEM Students from Charlotte and Lee County Schools Excel at State Science Fair

For Immediate Release

Contact – Re: Thomas A. Edison Regional Science & Inventors Fairs – Media inquiries to Lee Hughes,, 239-337-8315

30 Finalists from the 62nd Annual Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Science and Engineering Fair participated at the 64th annual State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida STEM Competition, which concluded Thursday, March 28th with the Awards Ceremony in Lakeland.  All 30 students had already been granted scholarships to FGCU for their work. Twenty-three (23) Kiwanis Science Fair finalists from area public and private schools received state-level recognition by winning multiple 1st Place, 2nd Place, 3rd Place, 4th Place, Honorable Mention, Recognition Awards and Special Awards.

Morgan Barkhurst, sophomore at Florida SouthWestern Collegiate High School, was selected as one of eight Senior Division Best of Fair – Grand Award Winner (Ying Scholar) and received a First Place Category Award in Physics & Astronomy for her first-year project: Graphene Solar-Photon Sail: A Novel Approach to the Application of Monolayer Graphene on Aluminumized Polyimide Film Using a Figure of Merit of a Solar-photon Sail Membrane for Interstellar Space Exploration. Morgan also received a Special Award from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Also receiving a First Place Category Award was Luke Long, senior at Canterbury School, for his Microbiology project: GREEN WATTS – Investigating Power Production of a Single Chamber Plant Microbial Fuel Cell in a Modular System Comparing Crop Plants, Triticum aestivum, Saccharum officinarum and Zea mays, A Novel Fifth Year Study. Luke was also selected to be a JASON Colloquium Speaker (one of sixe honorees) and addressed attendees during the opening ceremonies of the state science fair with his narrative, “The Unexpected Journey” (Source: State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida Facebook Page).

Five students from Southwest Florida schools were awarded Second Place Category Awards, including: Skylar Robbins (Punta Gorda Middle School, Elsa Marcet (Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School), Cynthia Sheng (Fort Myers High School), Mark Leone (Estero High School), and Dahlia Dry (Fort Myers High School). Participating with other aspiring scientists and innovators at this advance level was a wonderful academic experience.  In addition to the rigorous competition and professional judging, there were field trips to Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium and canoeing down the Hillsborough River.

A total of seven projects (7 Individuals) from our Kiwanis Science Fair will be advancing to this year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, AZ from May 12th to 17th. Representing the Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Science & Engineering Fair will be Morgan Barkhurst (FSW Collegiate High School), Myesha Choudhury (Canterbury School), Dahlia Dry (Fort Myers High School), Mark Leone (Estero High School), Luke Long (Canterbury School), Cynthia Sheng (Fort Myers High School), and Junwei Tan (FSW Collegiate High School). Follow these students online at and connect there to our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (@EdisonFairs) as they showcase their independent research and compete against 1,800 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions, and territories at this year’s International Science and Engineering Fair.

CLICK HERE for a complete list of state science fair winners from Charlotte and Lee Counties is attached.

The Thomas A. Edison Regional Science and Inventor Fair (TAERSIF) Steering Committee works year-round to organize and conduct the Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Science and Engineering Fair, the Suncoast Credit Union Elementary Science Expo and the Thomas A. Edison Festival of Light Regional Inventors Fair that host in total more than 1,100 local students. Key partners of TAERSIF include the Fort Myers Kiwanis, Lee County and Charlotte County Public Schools, numerous private and parochial schools, Florida Gulf Coast University, the Edison Festival of Light, Florida Southwestern State College, Hodges University, the James and Eleanor Newton Scholarships, Sony Electronics, Inc., Imagine Solutions Conference, Daitch Family Foundation, Caloosa Bromeliad Society, The Edison & Ford Winter Estates, The IMAG History and Science Center, the Fort Myers Miracle baseball team, Southwest Florida Community Foundation, Pure Florida, Caloosa Veterinary Medical Society, Florida Power and Light, Doug MacGregor. The Edison Pageant of Light, the Entrepreneurs Society of Naples, the Scientist Society of Southwest Florida, Lee Memorial Health Systems, the Lee County Medical Society and numerous private donors and volunteers.

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