Heart Of Volusia Supports Local



A half-dozen area students recently scored cash awards for their scientific endeavors from Heart of Volusia, Inc.

The Tomoka Regional Science and Engineering Fair returned to last year’s site, Stetson University’s Hollis Center in DeLand. Participants were the cream of the crop of the more than 3,000 students in middle and high schools who designed school-based science fair projects, according to Jeremy Blinn, Volusia County secondary science curriculum specialist and fair coordinator.

Heart of Volusia, Inc. is a non-profit agency in Volusia and Flagler counties whose main mission is to promote healthy hearts. HOV judges Judy Liberi, executive director, and Catherine Klasne, board member, focused on heart-related projects on display. Cash prizes included $150 for first place, $125 for second and $75 for third in both junior and senior divisions.

Wakeland Branz, 7th. grader at New Smyrna Beach Middle School, took first place among the Juniors. He focused on the adhesive substance from an open bleeding pig heart which helps heal broken bones or for use in any surgery. An 8th. grader at Burns Science and Technology Charter School in Oak Hill, Madalyn Fischer-Carne was awarded second place for her project measuring how heart rate is affected in the morning when one’s awakened by various music and alarm sounds. Interestingly, classical music evoked the biggest change. Another Burns Charter School student, sixth grader Amanda King took third place for her project on CO 2 and exercise.

In the Senior Division, all three winners attend Spruce Creek High School. Sophomore Eric Chen was first with his elaborate animal testing project on the effects of chemical compounds rich in antioxidants on planaria regeneration. Jennifer Russell, a junior at SCHS, copped second prize for Heart of Volusia with research into lung injuries from e-cigarettes. Third prize went to Kailyn Spitzer, a sophomore, who looked at how aerobic vs. anaerobic exercise affects metabolism.

Eric Chen, a sophomore at Spruce Creek High School, took first place and a check for $150 from Heart of Volusia, Inc. for his project  in the senior division of the recent Tomoka Regional Science Fair at Stetson University.

Wakeland Branz, 7th. grader at New Smyrna Beach Middle School, was the top winner for Heart of Volusia, Inc. in the junior division of the Tomoka Regional Science Fair, conducted by Volusia County Schools at Stetson University.