STEM Students from Charlotte and Lee County Earn Top Awards at State Science Fair

For Immediate Release

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

Nineteen (19) Grand Award Winners from the 64th Annual Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Science and Engineering Fair participated in the 66th annual State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida STEM Competition, which concluded Wednesday, April 7th with the Awards Ceremony.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s state science fair was conducted virtually over two weeks.  While all 19 students had already been granted scholarships to FGCU for their work, 15 of our state science fair finalists from area public and private schools received state-level recognition by winning multiple 1st Place, 3rd Place, 4th Place, Honorable Mention, Recognition Awards and Special Awards.

Mason Huffman, a 7th grader at Trafalgar Middle School, was selected as one of four Junior Division Best of Fair – Grand Award Winners and received a First Place Category Award in Biomedical & Health Sciences for his project Assessing Mask Efficacy with Laser and Sound Transmission. Mason also received a $500 Dr. Nelson Ying Scholarship and nomination for the 2021 Broadcom MASTERS – the nation’s premier middle school STEM competition.

Also receiving First Place Category Awards were Kurukulasuriya Fernando, 7th graders at Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School, for her Earth & Environmental Sciences project Microplastic Interaction in Aquatic Primary Consumers: Potential for Biomagnification, and Dhruva Sharma, 8th grader from Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School, for his Microbiology project Protective Efficiency of Masks in Preventing the Spread of COVID-19.

Two students from Southwest Florida schools were awarded Third Place Category Awards, including: Mehereen Chowdhury (Canterbury School) in Behavioral & Social Sciences and Jay Chavakula (Canterbury School) in Engineering. Fourth Place Category Awards were awarded to Kaelie Della-Luna (Oak Hammock Middle School) in Chemistry, Makayla Mitchell (Trafalgar Middle School) in Plant Sciences, Maya Chandar (Canterbury School) in Mathematics & Computational Sciences, and Bryce Krohnfeldt (Estero High School) in Plant Sciences.

A total of six projects (6 students) from our Kiwanis Science Fair will be advancing to this year’s Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in May. Representing the Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Science & Engineering Fair will be Michelle Barnes (Canterbury School), Morgan Barnes (Canterbury School), Jay Chavakula (Canterbury School), Vanessa Kinley (Bonita Springs High School), Heidi Kinsey (Fort Myers High School), and Bryce Krohnfeldt (Estero 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.

A complete list of state science fair winners from Charlotte and Lee Counties is attached. The 2021 State Science and Engineering Fair Awards Ceremony can be watched in its entirety on YouTube.

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 more than 1,200 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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