Student Features

6th grader wins honors at Pittsburgh science fair

Apr 4, 2014

Dilan Gangopadhyay with his display for his project "Disinfecting Dangerous Drinking Water."

A PA Cyber sixth grader's project comparing methods of disinfecting water in emergency situations has won high honors in the 75th Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair. Three other PA Cyber students entered projects in the competition.

Dilan Gangopadhyay of Pittsburgh won first place among Junior Division Physical Science projects with his project, entitled, "Disinfecting Dangerous Drinking Water." Dilan's project was selected to move on two other prestigious student science competitions. He won the Carnegie Science Center Award of Excellence, with an automatic entry to the 2014 Carnegie Science Center Awards program, with winners to be announced in Oakland on May 9.

Dilan's project was also nominated for the Broadcom Masters, a national STEM (science, technology, math, and engineering) competition for sixth, seventh and eighth graders in the U.S. Broadcom Masters semifinalists are to be announced Sept. 3.

Joel Cilli, PA Cyber STEM research and development coordinator, assisted Dilan with his project. Cilli used a 3D printer to make Dilan's design of an UV- LED flashlight that could be used in the field to disinfect water.

Dilan was one of four PA Cyber students – including his brother, Orion - with projects entered in this year's science fair.

Orion Gangopadhyay, a seventh grader, was a Junior Division winner and also won a Carnegie Science Award last year at the Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair, and went on to become a semi-finalist in Broadcom Masters. His project this year was in the Earth, Space Environment Intermediate Division. It involved a study on water percolation rates for different soil types and how that impacts flooded areas.

Ian Switzer, a PA Cyber sophomore from Volant, Pa., entered a Senior Division Robotics project entitled "Bringing Agile Aerial Robots into Practical Use." Switzer said "AARs" currently are impractical because short battery life limits flying time. He proposed a system of recharging stations as a solution.

Andrew Doyle, a PA Cyber sophomore from Wexford, investigated solutions from nature for the problem of concussions to football players. His project in the Engineering Senior Division created a model for comparing skeletons of animal species which have evolved to withstand high impact.

Rina Gangopadhyay, mother of Dilan and Orion, said Dilan's project was conceived to help doctors who go into disaster areas.

"His project was geared towards emergency situations and inspired by UPMC physicians who go into those situations," she said. "He compared four or five methods of disinfecting water and favored the one using UV light."

The boys have been in cyber charter schools for several years, Rina said. She and their father Sudip enrolled their sons in PA Cyber this year after meeting Joel Cilli and Mike Hissam, gifted-talented program supervisor, and learning of the many opportunities to involve students in science and engineering activities.

UPMC presented Dilan with the U.S. Surgeon General Award.
He is pictured with Dr. Marie Baldisseri, who helped inspire his project.

About PA Cyber

Serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber) is one of the largest, most experienced, and most successful online public schools in the nation. PA Cyber's online learning environments, personalized instructional methods, and choices of curricula connect Pennsylvania students and their families with state-certified and highly-qualified teachers, and rich academic content that is aligned to state standards. Founded in 2000, PA Cyber is headquartered in Midland (Beaver County) and maintains a network of support offices throughout the state. As a public school, PA Cyber is open for enrollment by any school-age child residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and does not charge tuition to students or families.