May 1, 2018
Three students earn honors at regional science fair
Three Upper St. Clair High School students earned individual honors at the 79th Covestro Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair on March 23-24, 2018, at Heinz Field.
Freshman Ishaan Shah earned fourth place honors in the Earth/Space/Environment category for his project, “Maximizing Output of a Microbial Fuel Cell.” In addition, his work earned sponsor awards from Air & Waste Management Association, Western PA Section and Duquesne Light; as well as Honorable Mention from the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers, Inc.
Ishaan also presented his project at the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science competition in February and will present at the PJAS State Competition in May at Penn State University.
Junior Sam Ding earned special recognition for Excellence in the Scientific Method for his project, “Investigating Clinical Variables in Breast Cancer using Bayesian Networks.” In February, Sam earned first place honors at the PJAS Region 7 competition at Duquesne University.
Also earning Excellence in the Scientific Method recognition was sophomore Shanthi Krishnaswamy who presented her project, “The Effect of Enzymes on Plants.”
The Upper St. Clair students were sponsored by Lynn Kistler, high school science curriculum leader. She finds that students gain experience in their scientific and presentation skills by participating in local science fairs.
“Students must apply the scientific process of asking questions, developing a hypothesis, designing an experiment, and analyzing and interpreting the results,” Ms. Kistler said. “Equally important, however, is that students must learn the best methods to present and share their work, a vital aspect of all scientific research.”
For the Convestro Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair and the PJAS competition students were asked to present their findings differently.
“At the PJAS competition, students give a 10 minute oral presentation while at the Covestro PRSEF, students construct a display board and answer questions posed by competition and sponsor judges related to their project,” Ms. Kistler said. “Students are encouraged to participate in both competitions to gain the experience of presenting their findings in both a practiced presentation, and extemporaneous speech.”
Ms. Kistler added that these experiences are invaluable for those considering careers in the sciences.
“Science fair opportunities allow students to apply knowledge they learn in their classes but also go beyond classroom instruction and learn how real science is done,” Ms. Kistler said. “Many of our students find mentors who are professional scientists and some students even get to work in research labs for their projects.”