Jarian Cottingham says his participation in this year’s Mississippi Region II Science and Engineering Fair at Jackson State University has been a great motivator.
After winning the upper fair’s top award on Friday, Cottingham said he’s more determined to find ways to inspire others to become interested in computer science engineering. Cottingham won the 2013 MSEF Region II Best of Fair for an invention he’s promoting as an inexpensive alternative to mobile devices and computers.
“It’s aimed at poorer regions and people who don’t have access to that type of technology and the classroom. I’m looking to get a patent for it,” said Cottingham, a senior at St. Andrews Episcopal School. “It’s supposed to be a more affordable solution. It can perform the needed functions of the computer, but you have to program it or have it programmed. It starts at $30 a unit and it could go down to as little as $10 as you increase the number of units produced.”
Cottingham was among close to 1,500 students from 250 public and private schools in Claiborne, Copiah, Hinds, Jefferson, Madison, Rankin and Warren counties who participated in the two-day fair held on JSU’s campus. Students presented projects in the areas of science, mathematics and technology. The lower fair for grades 1-6 were held Thursday. The upper fair for grades 7-12 was held Friday.
All of this year’s top winners in the upper fair were St. Andrews students. Aritra Biswas, a senior, was named 1st Place overall winner. The 2nd Place overall winner was Raveena Aggarwal, a ninth-grader, and the 3rd Place overall winner was Marina Ali, an 11th grader.
Biswas created a device that allows cars to generate energy as they stop on brakes.
“I think one of the most rewarding things for me was the chance to talk with someone who works on braking systems at Nissan,” said Biswas. “Getting to talk to someone who provides that sort of feedback is helpful. I know how to move forward.”
First, second and third place winners from grades 7-12 will advance to the Mississippi Science and Engineering Fair on March 26, also at JSU. The Best of Fair finalist and the 1st Place overall winner will represent MSEF – Region II at the International Science Engineering Fair May 12-18 in Pittsburgh.
On Friday, author and entrepreneur Kolie Crutcher addressed the students. Crutcher’s published self-help book, “ELECTRIC LIVING–The Science Behind the Law of Attraction,” seeks to explain the reason human beings become what they think about. He talked to the students about the importance of setting goals.
“I told them to stay focused on math and science. It makes them become thinkers. If you can think, you can understand what’s going on around you and you can be successful,” Crutcher said.
Cottingham said he was grateful for the experience and for the help he’s received from school officials.
“I want to thank my parents. I named the device, CC32813, after my sister. Her name is Camera Cottingham,” he said.