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More than 100 competitors from 16 eligible counties participated in the 59th annual Cumberland Plateau Regional Science & Engineering Fair hosted by Tennessee Tech University’s Millard Oakley STEM Center in March.

Students in the 4th through 12th grades exhibited projects in four research categories – biological, engineering, physical science and mathematics. The projects were judged by grade level divisions of intermediate (4th – 6th); junior (7th – 9th); and senior (10th – 12th).

Competitors won ribbons, certificates, science and engineering-based project kits, telescopes, and, of course, scholarships.

The team of Leah Burchfield and Makayla Starnes, sophomores at Dekalb County High School, placed second in the senior physical division.

Matthew Foutch, a sophomore at Dekalb County High School, won six awards, including the American Meteorological Society Award, the Stockholm Junior Award, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Award, and the Office of Naval Research High School Award. He placed first in the senior engineering division and won a scholarship award from the TTU College of Engineering.

Kyra Slager, a freshman at Dekalb County High School, placed second in the junior physical division and won the ASM Materials Education Foundation Award.

Lydia Trail, a sophomore at Dekalb County High School, placed first in the senior math division and won the U.S. Army Most Outstanding Award.

“We were excited to see the variety of research projects presented by students from throughout the region during this year’s Cumberland Plateau science and engineering fair,” said Peter Li, director of the fair and Tennessee Tech professor of geography. “I congratulate all of this year’s participants, our award winners, their families and teachers.”

For more information about the fair or to view the complete list of award winners, visit