On Saturday, April 27, more than 500 students, judges, volunteers and community members attended the Southern Connecticut Invitational Science & Engineering Fair (SCISEF) at Amity Regional High School.
Students from Amity Regional High School, Convent of the Sacred Heart (Greenwich), Darien High School, Glastonbury High School, Hamden High School, Joel Barlow High School (Easton, Redding), The Kent School, Newtown High School, Ridgefield High School, Staples High School (Westport) and Stonewall Academy (Tolland) completed projects and research proposals and presented them to the public and the judges.
The SCISEF is sponsored by the Southern Connecticut Science & Engineering Foundation (SCSEF).
Each student was required to create an exhibit, make a presentation, and participate in a question and answer session. Volunteer judges evaluated entries (both completed projects and research proposals) in four categories: behavioral sciences, environmental sciences, health sciences and physical sciences. Team projects were added for the first time this year.
“The diversity, creativity and quality of the projects were truly outstanding,” said Dr. Paul Oestreicher, SCSEF president. “And it was a pleasure to see their enthusiasm and passion matched by the teachers, judges and volunteers.”
Teams from a group of 195 judges reviewed the 193 student projects. A unique feature of SCISEF is that students receive both verbal and written feedback to aid them in their future work. SCSEF board member and judge Dr. Matt Miller recalled, “I provided comments to a student at a previous SCISEF and remarked that her topic was so compelling that it could be her life’s work. It turned out that, after arriving at college, she changed her major and is doing just that!”
Paul Heilman Award
This year saw two recipients of the Paul Heilman Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service. The award is named for SCSEF/SCISEF co-founder Paul Heilman, who passed away in 2010. Retiring board member Rita Smircich received the award because “The success and growth of Southern Connecticut Science & Engineering Foundation and SCISEF would not have been possible without your unrelenting commitment and support.” The SCSEF board of directors surprised William Foster II, SCSEF Chairman and co-founder, with a second Heilman award “For the vision of co-founding the Southern Connecticut Science & Engineering Foundation and the resolve to bring unique learning opportunities to students, teachers and the community at large.”
The SCISEF crowd was treated to an important and timely address by Dr. Emma Rosi-Marshall, an aquatic ecologist at the Carey Institute for Ecosystem Studies. She spoke about the effects of contaminants, such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products, on the ecosystems of streams and rivers. She is working to raise awareness that water treatment facilities do not currently filter or treat these compounds and, without attention, may have serious implications for human and animal health.
The Sexauer Foundation is a major funder of SCISEF and this year’s prizes were sponsored by Laticrete International of Bethany.
Science fair winners from Amity High School
Physical Science Proposals
3rd Place (tie) – Joseph Neumann (AHS): The Effects of Precursor Injection Rate on Carbon Nanotube Diameter
Behavioral Science Completed Projects
1st Place – Kimberly Liang (AHS): The Effect of an Artificial Voice on Students in a Classroom
2nd Place (tie) – Kevin Dardik (AHS): A Correlation Study Between Dream Clarity and Restfulness
Honorable Mention (tie) – Helen Liu (AHS): The Effect of Training Caregivers of ASD Individuals
Honorable Mention (tie) – Matthew McKenna (AHS): The Effect of Chewing Gum on Concentration
Environmental Science Completed Projects
2nd Place (tie) – Leah Miller (AHS): Stem Density as Affected by a Rise in Temperature
Honorable Mention – Sricharan Kadimi (AHS): Correlation between chlorophyll concentration and particulate organic carbon in the oceans
Health and Medical Completed Projects
2nd Place – Emman Abbasi (AHS): The Role of Microglia in Behavioral Disorders
3rd Place (tie) – Helen Zhao (AHS): Characterizing the Boundaries of the Lipid Bilayer Surrounding Intramembrane Protease GlpG
Physical Science Completed Projects
Honorable Mention (tie) – Shiyu Zhuang (AHS): Ca2+ Sensitive Alginate-Dendrimer FRET System for the Detection of MI
Honorable Mention (tie) – Ehsan Khan (AHS): Role of Stellar Wind on Distribution of Terrestrial Building Blocks and Protoplanetary Genesis
Competed Projects – Team
1st Place – Lamisa Mannan and Kristin Zakoworotny (AHS): Effect of Stress on a Grasshopper’s Diet
2nd Place – Noah Gallant and Daniel Giebisch (AHS): ActionWindbelts: The Future of Wind Power; The Effect of Magnet Thickness, Coil Configuration, and Film Elasticity on Electrical Output of a Windbelt
Research Proposals – Team
1st Place – Andrew Chen, Ben Ewing, Arpita Janjoo, Shaunak Pandit, Ben Staniewicz and Matt Whitehill (AHS): Sikorsky STEM Challenge