Science Fair winners honored at SMU

Young innovators from area middle schools and high schools celebrated their prize-winning projects on the SMU campus, where supporting the Dallas regional science fair has been a tradition since 1957.

Grand Prize winners, from left to right, Iliana Lega, Travis Academy/Vanguard; Daniel Rutnam, Rice Middle School; Chloe Lee, Plano East Senior High School; Katherine Lee, Plano West Senior High School.

DALLAS (SMU) – Hundreds of budding young scientists and their families gathered at SMU to celebrate the winners of the 2024 Beal Bank Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

Beal Bank has been title sponsor of the regional fair for more than a decade and SMU has sponsored the event since its inception in 1957. Faculty and staff from the University have always played significant roles and the awards banquet honoring the winners is traditionally held on the SMU campus. 

This year, more than 800 students in grades 6-12 advanced to the regional fair in February from competitions beginning at public, private and charter middle and high schools within Texas Education Agency Region 10. Approximately 200 local scientists and engineers volunteered as judges.

“Young people are fueled by a free-thinking ability that enables them to see the world, and indeed, the universe, in terms of just two questions: Why? And why not?” said Andrew Beal, Chairman of the Board of title sponsor Beal Bank. “This year’s Science Fair participants have once again shown that in all disciplines of science much work remains to be done,”.

The grand prize high school students honored at SMU on April 29, were Katherine Lee, grand prize life science winner from Plano West Senior High School; Vaani Chellamuthu, grand prize life science runner-up from Plano East Senior High School; Chloe Lee, grand prize physical science winner from Plano East High School and Ryan Xu, grand prize physical science runner-up from Jasper High School.

Junior level students recognized for highest honors were Daniel Rutnam, grand prize life sciences winner from Rice Middle School; Chloe Ni, grand prize life sciences runner-up from Rice Middle School; Iliana Lega, grand prize physical science winner from Travis Academy/Vanguard; and Pranavie Chatrathi, grand prize physical science runner-up from Pioneer Heritage Middle School.

See the full list of students who won first, second and third-place honors in various categories at the regional science fair, as well as the names of students who will advance to the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, here.