Middle School students all across the State are familiar with the Pittsburgh Junior Academy of Science competition. Students in our region are also familiar with the Pittsburgh Regional and Science and Engineering Fair. Alpha student Gina Palladino is not only familiar with both but she is a winner at both.
This year, she selected a polymer based project. “I wanted to work with plastics and polymers addressing the idea of compostable plastics because plastics in the ocean are a big problem. I looked at the Crown Poly bags used by Trader Joes, which I buried in my garden to compost.”
The Crown Poly bag is a product which claims to be a compostable, Eco-friendly plastic bag. The product is made with a material called Mater Bi®, is certified under ASTM D-6400 to meet the US composting standards, and is FDA approved. Gina researched the patent information for the Crown Poly bag. She discovered that the patent referenced the problem of durability in the product. She went on to create a tapioca based polymer to investigate the issue and presented her findings at both PJAS and PRSEF.
This year in the 2019 PJAS competitions, Gina achieved a perfect score at the regional level. She was also awarded the PJAS Chemistry Award with a $100 prize, the Duquesne University Excellence in Science Award, the CMU Center for Nucleic Acids Science and Technology DNA Zone Award and the Pittsburgh Section of the American Chemical Society 2019 Award for Excellence in Chemistry.
This year in the 2019 PRSEF competitions, Palladino earned sponsor Awards from Covestro, Kennametal and Braskem.
She recently learned she been selected as the PJAS Region 7 Award Winner for two years in a row by the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh (SACP). The award will consist of a certificate and a check for $300. Palladino and her family will attend an Awards You and your parents are invited to attend the annual SACP Awards Banquet on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 in the Duquesne University Ballroom.