CENTRAL — Nearly 200 elementary, middle and high school students from six Upstate counties put their scientific problem-solving skills on display at the 2018 South Carolina Region 1 Science Fair at Southern Wesleyan University in Central.
For the eleventh year, Southern Wesleyan’s Division of Science partnered with area teachers and parents to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, in keeping with its core value of “contagious generosity.”
The 2018 South Carolina Region 1 Science Fair was presented by Piedmont Natural Gas and Ortec Inc.. Additional financial support was provided by Shaw Industries and ServPro of Pickens County. Judging the competition were volunteers from Southern Wesleyan, as well as from Clemson University, Hill Electric Company, Ortec Inc. and Duke Energy.
Members of SWU’s Science Club also conducted breakout sessions for participating students, giving demonstrations of various science concepts, which included chemistry, biology and computer science.
According to Staci Johnson, SWU professor and event organizer, this year’s science fair grew significantly from a previous record of 110 students to 194 students this year.
“We are very excited about the growth in student participation in this year’s fair,” said Johnson. “Our desire in hosting the SC Region 1 Science Fair is to reward and encourage problem solving and critical thinking of students. These skills are essential to prepare the next generation of STEM professionals.”
The exhibits represented a variety of disciplines ranging from biology to physics to engineering — exploring what affects the ripening of fruit, or even how to make an emergency charger to rescue a dying phone battery.
Samuel Goodroe, a homeschool student from Seneca, presented his findings after studying the bouncing characteristics of three brands of basketballs inflated equally and dropped from an equal height.
“It’s a great opportunity and it’s fun to come out and test what you know against other public schoolers to see how you compare,” Goodroe said.
As Hank McCullough, senior manager of government and community relations at Piedmont Natural Gas, viewed competition exhibits and talked with several of the students about their projects, he came away impressed by the work they put into their research.
“I’m really inspired by their creativity and ingenuity. They’ve really laid out their hypothesis and they developed a process to test that,” McCullough said. “It’s just amazing to see what young people can do if you give them the opportunity and you encourage them to go in that direction.”
“I think it’s a great experience for them to meet other students interested in science and STEM science from all over our state, and it’s a great opportunity for them to meet other college students and professors, and for them to practice their presentation skills and to excel in science themselves,” said Laura Land, who brought her fourth and fifth-graders from Northside Elementary School to the competition.
During an awards ceremony at the event’s conclusion, Colleen Hydrick, plant manager at Shaw Industries, told science fair participants gathered in Newton Hobson auditorium, “I want to keep encouraging your curiosity. Every one of you that entered were curious about a question that you wanted answered, something you wanted to learn more about. Keep being curious. The science fair has probably taught you how to then think about that and come up with a solution and study it in a logical, scientific method and then make a data-driven decision. I can tell you that in our business, it’s important every day to make data-driven decisions.”
The top nine middle school projects are being nominated to the Broadcom Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars (MASTERS) program, which is the nation’s premier science fair competition for students in grades six through eight.
Finalists in this program will travel to Washington, D.C. to compete for more than $100,000 worth of prizes.
Planning is already underway for the 2019 South Carolina Region 1 Science Fair to be held on Friday, March 8, 2019 on the Central campus. In addition to currently offered awards and recognitions, winners of the High School Division at the 2019 SC Region 1 Science Fair will, for the first time, be eligible to move on to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
All students in South Carolina Region 1, which includes Abbeville, Anderson, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Oconee and Pickens counties, are invited to participate.
The 2018 South Carolina Region 1 Science Fair Winners:
Third Grade Division
Third Place – Maddison Ashley, Sadie Sweat, Yuchen Lin (Melting Madness), Ware Shoals Primary School
Second Place – Aeryn Piper Petroski, Eleanor Din (Fun Science), Merrywood Elementary
First Place – Aidan Thompson, Jocelyn Coleman, Jackson Dority (Up, Up, and Away), Ware Shoals Primary School
Elementary Biochemistry Division
Third Place – Irelyn Smith, Jasmine Joseph (Pill of Pain), Northside Elementary School
Second Place – Chole Smith (Poppin’ Like Its Hot), Keowee Elementary School
First Place – Addie Drennon (Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones), Northside Elementary School
Third Place – Ashlyn Denny (Nailed It!), Keowee Elementary School
Second Place – Adelie Gillespie (Slime), Keowee Elementary School
First Place – Noah Odom, Grant Duvall (Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz), Northside Elementary School
Third Place – Davis Arnold (Eraser Battle), Six Mile Elementary School
Second Place – Celia Gully (A Hard Finish), Keowee Elementary School
First Place – Sophia Ponton (Flying High), Keowee Elementary School
Elementary Health and Microbiology
Third Place – Emma VanWormer (Tooth Decay), Keowee Elementary School
Second Place – Jadon Tapper (Multitasking: Brain Drain or Gain?), Six Mile Elementary School
First Place – Keyla Zhao (Can You Hear Me?), Clemson Elementary School
Elementary Physical Science
Third Place – J.P. Dolfis (The Effect of Vehicle Weight on Stopping Distance), Northside Elementary School
Second Place – Noa Brinkman (Fly to the Sky), Clemson Elementary School
First Place – Ethan Cook (How Does Adding Weight to a Drone Affect Its Flight Time?), Clemson Elementary School
Elementary Plant & Animal Sciences
Third Place – Nathalie Blouin (Factors That Influence the Ripening Speed of a Banana), Clemson Elementary School
Second Place – Kylie Willis (Wi-Fi Worries: How Does Radiation Affect Plant Growth?), Mt. Lebanon Elementary School
First Place – Chelsea Burkhart (Light, Color, and Plant Growth), Keowee Elementary School
Middle School Behavioral & Social Sciences
Third Place – Johanna Austin (Stroop Effect Test), Classical Conversations
Second Place – Aliya Bowden (Pick a Plate), Bowden Homeschool
First Place – Carter Berry (Reading the Rainbow), Berry Academy
Middle School Biological Sciences
Third Place – Olivia Ballinger, Taylor Hardin (Blood Clotting with Calcium), Laurens Middle School
Second Place – Kya Vaughn (Inspiration through Fermentation), Gray Court Middle School
First Place – Madison Dinkins (Soap or Sanitizer), Classical Conversations
Middle School Chemistry
Third Place – Emily Owens (Bubbly Bath Bomb Bonanza), Gray Court Middle School
Second Place – Lillian Green (Release the Yeast), Green Classical Academy
First Place – Reshma Tegen (Preservatives in Bread), Hope Haven Academy
Middle School Engineering: Materials and Bioengineering
Third Place – Domenica Strathern (Translation), St. Joseph’s Catholic School
Second Place – Remi Witt (Christmas Water System), St. Joseph’s Catholic School
First Place – Kaylee Wimpey (Prevent Tragic Deaths), Wimpey Homeschool
Middle School Engineering: Mechanical & Electrical
Third Place – Alex Fiorentino (Emergency Charger), St. Joseph’s Catholic School
Second Place – Josh Vervaet (Precision Under Pressure), Vervaet Classical Academy
First Place – Colson Boutchia (Battle of Batteries), Classical Conversations
Middle School Mathematical Science
First Place – Nate Austin (God’s Design in Nature), Classical Conversations
Middle School Medicine & Health
Third Place – Brianna Burrafato (How Quick is Quick?), Sanders Middle School
Second Place – Matthew Kaiser (Perilous Projectiles and Eye Injury), Kaiser Academy
First Place – Tyler Crownover (The Soggy Bottom Boys), R.C. Edwards Middle School
Middle School Microbiology
Third Place – James Schvaneveldt (Bathroom Sanitation), Schvaneveldt Homeschool
Second Place – Sara Bedingfield (Cleaning Your Counters), Veritas Academy
First Place – Shwetha Rajmohan (Coliform Bacteria in Water), Sterling School
Seventh Grade Physical Science
Third Place – Micah Hawthorne (Which “Wood” Burns the Quickest), Hawthorne Homeschool
Second Place – Samuel Goodroe (Does Brand Matter?), Enchanted Hills Academy
First Place – Liam Chandler (Why Do the Geese Rock the Flying V?), R.C. Edwards Middle School
Eighth Grade Physical Science
Third Place – Kayla Covington (Dollars & Degrees), Covington Homeschool
Second Place – Micah Cash (Fastest Way to Cool a Soda), Classical Conversations
First Place – Evan Prince (Dirt Cheap Energy), Deerfield Academy
Middle School Plant and Animal Sciences
Third Place – Jack Osborne (Eighteen Mile Creek & Lake Hartwell pH Levels), R.C. Edwards Middle School
Second Place – Addison Smith (Ripe Fruit – A Sensory Delight), Smith Homeschool
First Place – Danielle Brooks (The Insulation Value of Feathers), Brooks Homeschool High School
Second Place – Zoe Willis (The Invisible Pollution Issue: How do common synthetic micro-pollutants affect Daphnia magna?) – Pendleton High School
First Place – Vignesh Rajmohan (The Effectiveness of the Use of Moringa Oleifera Seeds in the Removal of Metal Based Contaminants from Contaminated Water), J.L. Mann High School
Junior Water Award (presented by the Water Environment Association of South Carolina (WEASC)) – Geraldine Darnault (How Does Soil Affect the pH of Water), R.C. Edwards Middle School
Senior Water Award (presented by the Water Environment Association of South Carolina (WEASC)) – Zoe Willis (The Invisible Pollution Issue: How do common synthetic micro-pollutants affect Daphnia magna?), Pendleton High School
Stockholm Junior Water Award Nominee (presented by the Water Environment Association of South Carolina (WEASC)) – Vignesh Rajmohan (The Effectiveness of the Use of Moringa Oleifera Seeds in the Removal of Metal Based Contaminants from Contaminated Water), J.L. Mann High School