Inspiring Innovation in Student Research      

Meet the De Silva Family


The De Silva family has three children, Sayumi, Mihin, and Senith who have diverse interests and hobbies, but also share many interests, one of which includes science and engineering research. The family lives in Sylva, NC, attending NC Schools, and participating in typical NC family activities, but also cherises their Sri Lankan heritage and culture. 

Meet Jack Bivins

Jack Bivins is 13 years old and lives in New Hanover County, NC.  Originally born in Davis California, Jack’s family moved to North Carolina when he was 4 years old.  Jack attended elementary school at New Horizons Elementary and now attends Murray Middle School.  Outside of school Jack loves to surf and hang out with friends.  Jack also volunteers at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. As a student in grades 3-5 Jack participated in science and engineering fairs and in grade 6 he participated in Science Olympiad at Murray Middle.  

Meet Amari' Walker

Amari’ Walker grew up in Pender County, NC.  She is currently 17 years old and enrolled at Pender HS.  She attended Elementary School at Malpass Corner and Middle Schools at West Pender Middle.  She has lived in Pender county her whole life.  She is passionate about cheerleading, crafting, and school and also owns her own business making cell phone and Airpod cases. 

Meet Sai Varanasi

Sai Varanasi is an NC Science and Engineering Fair Alumna who lived in Pinehurst, NC through her middle school years.  She now lives in Chapel Hill.  A graduate of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM),  Sai is a second year mechanical engineering student at Georgia Tech where she is involved in research and also holds a position as a TA. While her professional interests focus on Energy and Sustainability, in her personal time she likes to bake and to play the tabla (Indian subcontinent Hand Drums).

Meet Abe Harris

Abe (Abraham) Harris is currently a 4th grade student at Lacy Elementary.  His favorite thing to do is to play football.  On his flag football team he plays center.  One of his favorite things to eat is Gouda cheese.

When thinking about what initially got him interested in science Abe credited his parents, but also noted that he feels that when he engaged in science in school it is more interactive than math and reading which makes it fun for him.  He is especially interested in physics and enjoys thinking about how it impacts sports.  

Meet Ana Ratanaphruks

Ana Ratanaphruks grew up in the triangle area in Morrisville, NC and is a recent graduate of Wake STEM Early College and also the online program at the NC School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM).  As a child Ana was very interested in the arts and humanities and did not like science and math. She attributes this disinterest to having had a limited understanding of what STEM entails, specifically associating STEM with robotics and microscopes.  As a young adult entering college her interests have evolved significantly and she now is interested in engineering fields and particularly likes materials science, applied mathematics, and industrial engineering.  She appreciates having had early access to courses at NC State University as part of her early college experience, finding the courses challenging and the opportunity to meet a lot of people enjoyable.