Math Science Innovation Center's 18th Annual Richmond Metro Science Fair
The 18th annual Richmond Metro Science Fair happened Saturday at Powhatan High School.
Andrew Sylvester of Mills Godwin and Saumil Bandyopadhyay from the Maggie Walker Governor’s School were the grand prize winners at the event presented each year by the Math Science Innovation Center.
Vogel: The first place in each senior division category becomes a finalist for one of two trips to the International Science Fair, which will be in San Jose, California this year in May.
The Center’s Martha Vogel is coordinator of the Metro Science Fair. The winners were selected from 13 finalists chosen after a day of presentations and judging.
Vogel: And what's kind of interesting this year is none of the finalists has been a finalist in the past. It's not -- they're all new to senior division first place winners.
Winners of this science fair have traditionally done well at the national events.
Vogel: We had two winners from last year who went to Reno, Nevada, competed. We had one student won a third place in his category. And a $1,000. And the other won a first place in his category for the first time for any of our Metro Richmond students.
Vogel pointed out that the Math Science Center is especially grateful to the judges.
Vogel: The judges are amazing. They are giving their time just for food; on Saturdays to come out and spend time with the students and they are coming from all over the area. We’ve got people from all the universities in the area, community colleges, we have people from large corporations and small companies and some people are retired, some are self-employed, and they just are interested in science and they are interested in seeing people come and do well. And they can try to encourage them in science.
Enthusiasm is obvious when you talk to the students about their projects.
Student One: Samuel Wojcicki, Powhatan High School, sophomore year. I’ve done this before in the Junior Division, but never in the Senior Division. I actually tested the impact of negative social incident on student’s ability to test and testing scores.
Student Two: I’m Meghan Melia from Deep Run High School, ninth grade. My project is the effect of texting on math homework accuracy.
Student Three: Kieran Raphael. I’m from Clover Hill High School Math Science Center. I did the effect of color on the stimulation of hunger. Basically I tested to see if color would affect how much chickens ate.
Student Four: I’m Joelle Halle. I’m a freshman at the Math Science Center at Clover Hill High School. My experiment question is paw preference in cats, gender specific.
All four competitors agreed that they were a little nervous when the judges first came to talk to them, but concentrating and explaining a project that they’d been working on in some instances since last summer helped them to relax.
Vogel explained that the preliminary round began at 9am. The finals mean another round of judging.
Vogel: It is a different set of judges. The finalists will meet with five judges that have been selected to have a broad knowledge of categories and they have been briefed by the category judges as to why that student should win. And then the students will have about eight minutes with the finalist judges to have them determine who is gonna be the ones to win and go to San Jose.
As far as those four project mentioned earlier, Sam found evidence that negative social incidents can impact test score; Meghan discovered texting had a negative effect on math homework accuracy; Kieran found that chickens in red rooms eat more; and Joelle discovered more right-pawed cats.
John Ogle, WCVE News