Junior’s original research earns award at RPI science & engineering fair

high school student in a plaid shirt stands next to a posterboard in a school libraryBroadalbin-Perth High School junior Miles Compani’s research earned him a prestigious award at the Greater Capital Region Science and Engineering Fair on March 23. Compani was named the winner of the Momentive Performance Materials Award for his original prototype of a rooftop fire prevention system. He was awarded a cash prize and certificate for his efforts.

The award is given to a project that demonstrates innovative use of synthetic chemicals to improve the environment and/or quality of life. Compani’s prototype utilizes flame retardant chemicals in a rooftop sprinkler system to mitigate housefires.

“I really wanted to create something that a regular person could buy and use to protect their home,” Compani said.

This is the second year in a row that Compani’s fire prevention prototype turned heads at the event, which is held annually at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He won the ASU Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiative Award at last year’s event for his fire prevention equipment, which has evolved with design improvements.

“I started this project last year when I heard all of the reports of the California wildfires,” Compani said. “This is the same sprinkler system idea, but last year’s model was on the ground and sprayed outward. This year, I moved the sprinkler system to the rooftop to provide an extra line of defense.”

Compani said his participation in the science fair the last two years has taught him about the engineering design process, represented by the fact that his design has evolved for the better from year-to-year. He encourages his peers to pursue extracurricular opportunities like he did in participating in the science fair, which has helped him find his passion and explore a potential future career path.

“I chose to participate in the science fair on my own. Before this project and last year’s, I hadn’t had gotten into the engineering side of science, so I didn’t know how the process worked,” Compani said. “This has shown me how engineers work to create new things. It’s been really interesting.”

“His research is a direct reflection of his work ethic — top notch!” BPHS science teacher Brian Henry said. “Miles’ development of a unique piece of fire prevention equipment has afforded him an opportunity to pursue a U.S. patent for his work. We are all very proud of his efforts.”