Teen Scientists Showcase Innovation at ExxonMobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair

Top prizes awarded to chemistry and biochemistry projects

  • More than 1,000 students competed in 27th annual statewide science competition
  • Senior best-of-show winners Michael Trinh and Jessica Hong, and junior best-of-show winner Nicky Wojtania honored with top division awards
  • Fair sponsored by the ExxonMobil Foundation and Texas Workforce Commission

Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar (left) and ExxonMobil Program Officer Rosendo Cruz (far right) congratulate senior division best-of-show winners, Michael Trinh and Jessica Hong, on earning top honors at the 2013 ExxonMobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair. (Photo: Business Wire)

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SAN ANTONIO--()--More than 1,000 bright young Texans vied for prizes this weekend at the ExxonMobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair, a two-day competition that brings together top science fair winners from across the state. The event was hosted by The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Sciences at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

The fair offered students opportunities to earn college scholarships and a spot at the world’s largest international science fair. Students competed in two divisions — junior (grades six through eight) and senior (grades nine through 12) — in one of 17 categories. In addition to best-of-show and grand-prize winners in each division, awards were presented to first- through fifth-place honorees in each category.

Michael Trinh, a junior at Plano East High School, and Jessica Hong, a sophomore at Clark High School, earned best of show in the senior division for their project titled: “Preparation of a Self-Propelled Nanomotor.” Nicky Wojtania, an eighth grader at Rice Middle School in Plano, received the top junior division honor for her investigation of trans fats and food labels.

“UTSA is proud to host this exceptional competition and its aspiring scientists, who continually amaze us with their outstanding projects,” said George Perry, dean of the UTSA College of Sciences. “For the past seven years, we have seen young inventors and scientists whose experiments have changed the way we live.”

The ExxonMobil Foundation has sponsored the state-level competition for 13 consecutive years, providing a $75,000 grant to support the event. The Texas Workforce Commission also provides support for the fair.

“The ExxonMobil Foundation is committed to encouraging scientific exploration among the next generation of innovators,” said Suzanne McCarron, president of the ExxonMobil Foundation. “Our nation is fueled by innovation, and the fair helps inspire ingenuity and creativity of future scientists and engineers.”

The top eight senior winners are eligible to apply for all-expenses-paid trips to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, May 12-17. The top 10 percent of junior competitors are nominated for the Broadcom MASTERS program, a national science, technology, engineering and mathematics competition for sixth- through eighth-grade students hosted by the Society for Science and the Public.

UTSA has hosted the fair since 2004 with assistance from the Texas Science Careers Consortium, which has managed the program since its inception 27 years ago.

Students qualified to compete in the ExxonMobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair by winning grand prize or first- through third-place honors at one of 12 regional fairs held across Texas. Each regional fair is sanctioned by Science Service, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the understanding and appreciation of science among people of all ages.

For more information on the 2013 ExxonMobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair, visit emtsef.utsa.edu.

About UTSA

The University of Texas at San Antonio is one of the largest of nine academic universities and six health institutions in the UT System. As a multicultural institution, UTSA aims to be a national research university providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA serves nearly 31,000 students in 139 degree programs in the colleges of Architecture, Business, Education and Human Development, Engineering, Honors, Liberal and Fine Arts, Public Policy, Sciences and the Graduate School. Founded in 1969, UTSA is an intellectual and creative resource center and socioeconomic development catalyst for Texas and beyond. Learn more at www.utsa.edu/today.

About the ExxonMobil Foundation

The ExxonMobil Foundation is the primary philanthropic arm of Exxon Mobil Corporation in the United States. The foundation and the corporation engage in a range of philanthropic activities that advance education, health and science in the communities where ExxonMobil has significant operations. In the United States, ExxonMobil supports initiatives to improve math and science education at the K-12 and higher education levels. In 2012, together with its employees and retirees, Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), its divisions and affiliates, and the ExxonMobil Foundation provided $256 million in contributions worldwide, of which $116 million was dedicated to education. www.exxonmobil.com/community


for The University of Texas at San Antonio
Merritt Talbott, 214-373-1601

Release Summary

More than 1,000 bright young Texans vied for prizes this weekend at the ExxonMobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair in San Antonio.



for The University of Texas at San Antonio
Merritt Talbott, 214-373-1601