2020 Senior Projects

We are excited to showcase projects from talented students across North Carolina in the Senior division. Jump to a category using the links below or browse the page to see all projects in this division. See all the project videos together in the Senior Project Video Playlist on YouTube.

Elementary and Junior division projects can be reviewed on their respective pages.

Biological Sciences A | Biological Sciences B | Chemistry | Earth & Environmental Sciences | Engineering | Physics & Mathematics | Technology

Biological Sciences A

Includes animal sciences, plant sciences, and microbiology

The Effects of Hormonal Birth Control on the pH of Skin

Student(s): Clara

The effects of hormonal birth control on the skin pH of young women were tested and observed over two menstrual cycles, resulting in the discovery that hormonal birth control heightens the pH of female skin. Understanding these results may help in the development of new, personalized skin care and other products.

An Evaluation of the Effects of Utilizing Nitrifying Bacteria in Conjunction with Martian Resources to Enable Hydroponic Growth

Student(s): Isaiah and Graham

This project is an evaluation of the effects of nitrifying bacteria in conjunction with Martian resources to enable hydroponic growth. It has potential to be utilized in Martian exploration/colonization.

Measuring Ammonia and Phosphate Uptake Efficacy for Two Species of Seaweed to Reduce Eutrophication

Student(s): Esha

In this project, the efficacy of seaweed to prevent nutrient pollution and eutrophication through bioremediation was measured. In the future, freshwater seaweed and macroalgae should be piloted/utilized for bioremediation in order to stop the growing issue of Harmful Algal Blooms.

Determining the Ecological Impacts of the Invasive Land Planarian Bipalium kewense

Student(s): Kayla

This is a research project that focuses on determining the ecological impacts of the invasive land planarian Bipalium kewense. By analyzing their predation and reproduction rates, I was able to create a risk assessment that indicated that Bipalium kewense has significant impacts on native ecosystems.

 Khristine photo 1

Fighting E. Coli: Comparing Natural and Synthetic Antibiotics

Student(s): Khristine

This project investigates whether natural antibiotics such as garlic, ginger, tea tree old, and oregano oil are as effective as synthetic (or pharmaceutical) antibiotic, Ampicillin. To determine the effectiveness of the natural antibiotics, it had to done using the Kirby-Bauer disk-diffusion method on the bacteria, Escherichia Coli (E. Coli) that shows the amount of antibiotic to kill a certain bacteria.

Investigating Oleic Acid Application in Preventing the Spread of Escherichia coli Antibiotic Resistance

Student(s): Matias

An inhibitor of bacterial conjugation (allows bacteria to exchange genes) and antibiotics were applied to antibiotic resistant bacteria in different scenarios. The inhibitor and antibiotics combined decreased resistance transfer, and the lack of antibiotics when resistant-bacteria were colonizing a larger wild-type population greatly decreased antibiotic resistance in the population as a whole.

Quorum Quenching: Synergistic Effects of Plant Derived Compounds on Biofilm Formation

Student(s): Preeti

Given that biofilms contribute greatly to global mortality rates, new therapies are needed to mitigate their detrimental effects. My project aimed to reduce the formation of the biofilms in the bacteria Vibrio harveyi by interfering with their communication system (quorum quenching) via multiple plant-derived compounds.

Biological Sciences B

Includes behavioral and social sciences, computational biology and bioinformatics, cellular and molecular biology, and biomedical and health sciences

Dual-Culture Protocol for Endothelial Cells and Pericytes

Student(s): Hayoung (Talia)

My project is a “Dual-Culture Protocol for Endothelial Cells and Pericytes,” and I improved the viability of hCMEC/D3 (Human Cerebral Microvascular Endothelial Cell Line) cells by mixing a pericyte media with an endothelial cell media. I envision that our results will contribute to the development of a universal media used in vitro BBB models to have a screening platform at a high throughput for vascular dementia drug treatments.

Which Dissolves Faster?

Student(s): Rachel

In my project, I studied the rates of dissolution of different types of Acetaminophen pills (tablets, caplets, and gel caps) in four different pH liquid environments simulating the human stomach, human small intestine, and two environments in between. My results showed that the dissolution rates of the tablet and gel caps depended on the pH of the liquid they were in; the tablets dissolved faster in the pH of 6, while the gel caps dissolved faster in the pH of 1.5, but the caplets dissolved much faster overall, no matter the pH.

Noninvasive Treatment of Diabetes - An In-Vitro Analysis of Chitosan-Insulin Nanoparticles for Oral Insulin Delivery

Student(s): Hrishika

To treat Diabetes, painful insulin injections are taken daily by millions to control blood glucose levels, however, insulin pills are not effective due to insulin degradation in the GI tract. This project aims to solve this problem by making self-assembly of Chitosan-Insulin nano-particle without any harsh chemical for oral insulin delivery to the bloodstream without degradation.

Differentiating Touch-Induced Vibrations into Categories of Tactile Inputs Using a Piezoelectric Vibration Sensor

Student(s): Jusung

This research analyzed the various electrical frequencies generated via different types of tactile input on a piezoelectric vibration sensor. The results show that there were significant differences between the four types of tactile inputs (one second hold/quick tap/light hold/heavy hold) used for the experiment, which yields the possibility of more economic multi-level pressure and duration sensitive touchscreens, opening new paths for technological evolution to facilitate greater human-machine interactions.


 Includes chemistry and biochemistry

Optimization of Biophotovolatics Devices

Student(s): Aakriti

My project focused on a type of alternative energy known as biophotovolatics, which harnessed the photosynthetic capability of algae to produce energy. I built different models of a biophotovoltaic cell and analyzed their efficiency.

Emma photo

How to Prevent Enzymatic Browning in Apples

Student(s): Emma

PIn this project I explored which juice (Lemon, Lime, Pineapple, Orange, or Grapefruit) was the most effective at preventing enzymatic browning in apples. I concluded that Lemon was the most effective followed by Lime and Pineapple which partially proved my hypothesis that the lower the pH of the juice, the slower the oxidation will occur.

Synthesis and Characterization of Si(bzimpy)2 Analogs for Application in Organic Light Emitting Diodes

Student(s): Lisa

In this project I synthesized and characterized analogs of a new type of molecule called Si(bzimpy)2 for applications in organic light emitting diodes. The newly obtained analogs offer different colors of emitted light and improved stabilities.

Earth and Envirnomental Sciences

Includes earth and environmental sciences, environmental engineering, and chemical and physical energy

Treatment of Acetic Acid Via Granular Activated Carbon in Relation to Agricultural Wastewater

Student(s): Aishwarya

This project was conducted to investigate the adsorptive removal of acetic acid via granular activated carbon. Using this method, malodors from animal agricultural wastewater which negatively impact the neighboring communities can be addressed.

A Look into Filtered Water Compared with Local Stream Water

Student(s): Olivia

A Look into Filtered Water Compared with Local Stream Water

Development of a Novel Model to Predict Sediment Yield After a Wildfire

Student(s): Angela

Wildfires may bring considerable heterogeneous disturbances to the relationships between runoff and sediment yield that may invalidate some essential assumptions required by the ordinary method of least squares. To overcome this deficiency, a novel model has been put forward in this study to predict the suspended sediment concentration (SSC) of a watershed after the area has been burned by a wildfire.

Functions of Phenolic Compounds within Common Natural Spices in Permeating Cells of Kanamycin and Ampicillin Resistant Gram-negative Bacteria

Student(s): Karthik

Antibiotic resistance in bacteria is an imminent threat caused by overexposure to the buildup of synthetic chemicals from antibiotics in runoff. However, my project tested the effects of natural spices against these antibiotic resistant bacteria to determine if there could be a natural alternative that would reduce exposure due to its natural decomposition properties.

The Effects of Salinity on the Growth of Nannochloropsis Salina

Student(s): Lillie

Through the duration of six weeks I found that the Nannochloropsis salina species was able to flourish vigorously in the salinity level of six. By using a flow cytometer, I discovered that changes in salinity affects cell growth and with increased cell numbers that can be inferred by the chloroplast amounts, you can see an increased lipid density within the algae cells.


Includes engineering mechanics and material science

Bio-engineering PETase into Water-Resistant E. coli

Student(s): Aditya and Aryan

To combat the growing plastic pollution problem in aquatic environments, a safe E. coli strain of bacteria was transformed with a PETase gene to gain the ability to degrade plastic in all environments. The results that were determined from this experiment showed the potential benefits of using bacterium to degrade plastic in water.

The New Generation: Building a Pathway to a Greener and Stronger Future

Student(s): Josie and Kyle

Throughout the world, the increasing population has caused two main issues, plastic pollution along with the increasing need for new structures that use concrete in their building process. We decided to tackle both issues in one by adding an organic additive and substituting parts of the sand in the concrete mixture with plastic that needs to be recycled helping combat issues of plastic pollution, and sand shortages around the world helping to create a greener and stronger future.

Physics and Mathematics

 Includes physics, mathematics, and astronomy

Modeling the Efficiency of Varying Angle Hydrofoils in Water

Student(s): Farhan

My project is involved with the development of a mathematical model based around historic measures of hydroelectric energy output, and the novel measurement of energy efficiency for hydroelectricity exceeding the Betz Limit. To do this, I used varying blade-to-tip angles and calculated their energy output both experimentally and by using a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis engine to simulate incompressible flow conditions.

Forecasting Stock Close Values and Generating Investment Strategies with Differential Equations

Student(s): Ijay

Developed and evaluated a stock- predicting algorithm with differential equations that takes risk into account. The model outperforms the market by approximately 6 percent when the coefficient of variation (of stock close values) is less than 0.05.

Canonical Principal Component Analysis of Stock Returns For Robust Risk Factor Identification

Student(s): Stepan

I analyze the returns of the stock market and the S&P 500 over two decades to determine factors that predict returns and explain stock variation. The analysis yields a five-factor model including market, size, book-to-market ratio, company profitability, and momentum as factors capturing the variation of stock returns.

Fabrication and Characterization of Graphene Devices Encapsulated in Hexagonal Boron Nitride

Student(s): Andy

We examined various aspects of the fabrication process of hexagonal boron nitride-encapsulated graphene devices, investigating methods to improve the quality and consistency of the stacking process. We optimized the stamp heating strategy to significantly reduce blister and tear accumulation during the stacking process, which allowed us to make more efficient use of the graphene regions in our completed devices.


 Includes embedded systems, robotics and intelligent machines, and systems software

Combating Terrorism Using Mathematical Modeling: A Computational Analysis of the Efficacy of Various Offensive Strategies Against a Nonlinear Dynamical Clandestine Cell System Simulated by a Discrete Stochastic Statistical Model

Student(s): Paarth

Terrorism has become one of the deadliest threats to humanity in recent years, and modern methods to combat terrorism have come under scrutiny by various clandestine theorists. This research aims to analyze the efficacy of the Simultaneous Attack/Persistent Pursuit Theory, which was proposed by Colonel Derek Jones in the context of counterterrorism, as compared to the efficacy of current methods.