FI School Scientists Receive Honors at 2015 Connecticut Science Fair


By Carol Giles and Jane Ahrens

A highly competitive and prestigious event, these students have been selected from thousands throughout Connecticut and several bordering New York towns. The young scientists and engineers have participated in school and local fairs and have achieved at a very high level to come to CSEF. Source: CT State Science Fair press release.

The Connecticut Science Fair and Engineering Fair is held at Quinnipiac University in March.

Each year Fishers Island School’s science department encourages the 11th and 12th grade science students to participate in the Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair. These students work on their projects starting at the beginning of school each year – or before if they are ambitious – and submit their projects before Christmas break. Mentored by Fishers Island School science teacher Mrs. Giles and technology teacher Mr. Kaplan, the students have unlimited boundaries as long as the project is in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) field. Most of them are pretty amazing and intriguing!

The projects that contain materials such as hazardous chemicals or devices and human subjects have to be preapproved for safety by a SRC scientific review committee that was composed of Dr. Ingram, Dr. Dollar, Mrs. Goodwin, and Mr. Matzdorff.

Mrs. Giles, Mr. Kaplan and the students themselves then select the top 8 projects to represent the Fishers Island School at CSEF. These included Shelby Lusker, Eli Kane, Aaron Kane, Mackenzie Switz, Connor Beverly, Gabrielle Krysiewicz, Elizabeth McCarthy and Sophie Streimer.

This year, 50% of the participating Fishers Island School students – Shelby Lusker, Eli Kane, Aaron Kane and Mackenzie Switz – received Second Honors ranking them in the top 40-80 percentile of the fair participants.

Mackenzie (Mac) and Eli also received special awards. Mac received the Goodwin-Neiring Center for the Environment award for her research with two species of diesel eating bacteria and ways to help augment their efficiency. Eli studied the effect of ocean acidification and the pesticide methoprene, a possible cause of the fishing tragedy of 1999, on the analogous organism Procambarus clarkii (crayfish) to lobsters.

Shelby designed and built an apparatus that would swing a golf club. Then she tested golf clubs and balls for the distance each would travel. She was recognized for the engineering aspect of her project. Aaron tested whether humans learned better via video vs. live lecture.  This is very timely because of all the online learning.

In addition, Sophie Streimer received a Horning Grant from the FI Conservancy for her research on the effect two different species of phytoplankton has on ocean acidification. Eli also received a Horning Grant for his work presented at the fair.

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