Masuk senior is a finalist for Barton L. Weller Scholarship

Barton L. Weller Scholarship finalist Keller Hall, a Masuk High School senior, left, poses for a photo with Michael J. Smith, chairman of The Weller Foundation, Inc.

Keller J. Hall, a Masuk High School senior, was selected as a finalist to compete for the $18,000 scholarship in honor of Barton L. Weller, the late founder of Vitramon, Inc., in Monroe. He is the son of Jason and Maureen Hall.

The scholarship, established in 1977 to encourage academic excellence in a substantial independent research or study project, is available to full-time seniors at Joel Barlow, Masuk, Newtown, Shelton and Trumbull high schools, and is made possible by Weller’s generosity, a testament to his commitment to education.

Students were invited to submit project proposals in any field of study they are interested in, resulting in a total of 19 submissions. Based on criteria such as originality, the format of the proposal, project potential, and the care with which the proposal was planned and implemented, five finalists were selected.

On Nov. 2, each finalist received $200 to help cover expenses over the five-month period of the project. Completed projects are due on March 1, 2024, and finalists will be invited for an interview.

The $18,000 scholarship will be awarded to the student with the best project, regardless of financial status, and the funds will be transferred directly to their college or university account. On March 22, 2024, the recipient will be announced.

The title of Keller’s project is “Magnetic Based Activated Carbon as a Non-invasive Lead (Pb) Remediation Tool in Contaminated Wetland Sediment.” The aim of the project is to evaluate the effectiveness and sustained efficiency of using a magnetic biochar soil amendment to remove heavy metals from sediment samples in wetlands.

Michael J. Smith, chairman of The Weller Foundation, far right, presents checks to scholarship finalists, from left, John Quevedo (Shelton High School), Paul Nguyen (Shelton High School), Alana Reyes (Trumbull High School), Keller Hall (Masuk High School), and Samuel DiVasto (Trumbull High School).

The other four finalists competing for the scholarship are:

Samuel DiVasto –  Trumbull High School, project:  Magnetohydrodynamic Salt Water Generator: Using magnetohydrodynamics to extract energy from flowing saltwater.”

Paul Nguyen – Shelton High School, project: “QUARTOR: Quadcoptor for Real-time Thermal Imaging and Object Recognition.”

John Quevedo – Shelton High School, project:Optimizing Renewable Energy Supply: Machine Learning Techniques for Solar Data Analysis.”

Alana Reyes – Trumbull High School, project: Chemical engineering of an original soybean oil-based natural garment dye.”

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