St. Ann School students earn accolades at Mercer County science fair
By Christina Leslie | Correspondent
Four students in St. Ann School, Lawrenceville, earned awards for their entries at the annual Mercer County Science & Engineering Fair, held March 11-12 in the town’s Rider University.
Fifth-grader Spencer Williams, sixth-grader Arjun Kumaar, seventh-grader Sean Geherty and eighth-grade student Ian Staniec were among six entrants from St. Ann, the only Catholic school in the county-wide competition.
Williams rated an “outstanding” rank for his project titled “The effect of different foods and drinks on blood sugar levels,” in which he tested blood glucose after consuming a donut, orange juice, egg, yogurt and ginger ale. “I wanted to see and find out what people with diabetes go through every day,” the young scientist said.
Kumaar earned an “honorable mention” for his “Light O Rama” experiment, testing the varieties of ways that light can be harnessed and its characteristics by determining how it is diffracted. The student researched science periodicals to create the experiment, and his interest in the field was rekindled by his award. “I am exploring science like never before and one day I hope to win a major science fair competition,” Kumaar enthused.
“The effect of height on the size of blood spatter” was analyzed by Geherty, who received a “meritorious achievement” award for the CSI-flavored experiment. The youth found that the two variables are, indeed, correlated. “This may help forensic scientists figure out what happened at a crime scene... [and] would make an interesting project,” Geherty said.
Staniec won an “honorable mention” for his project “the effect of engineered wood compared to non-engineered wood on the amount of deflection.” He found the difference in strength between the two types of materials especially pertinent because, “My dad is an engineer, [and] we used engineered wood in our house a while ago and I asked him why,” Staniec said.
The four winners had previously competed with their peers in a St. Ann schoolwide science fair for all students in grades four to eight Feb. 20-23, filling the gymnasium with almost 150 tri-fold presentations.
St. Ann middle school science teacher Meredith Daniel explained, “Students were allowed to experiment in biological, physical or earth science. For the upper grades, students were also required to demonstrate their understanding of the scientific method: identifying an independent and dependent variable, creating a procedure, graphing data and concluding their results and how they apply to the world.”
The teacher expressed pride in her students’ accomplishments at the fair, saying, “The students’ planning set-up, experimentation and analysis occurs over a few months, so by the time the science fair comes around students are really proud of their work.”
Trophy winners for St. Ann science fair projects completed by grades 4 and 5 were Spencer Williams (grade five), Elizabeth Ravenel (grade five) and Jillian Yao (grade four). Upper grade winners were Grace Voss (grade eight), Kirsten Steege (grade seven) and Jared Rice (grade six).
The school’s Catholic Education Endowment Fund Committee bestowed scholarship money to six students in grades five, six and seven; both their outstanding work at the science fair, as well as their transcripts and description of service hours were weighed. Monies may be applied to the 2018-2019 school year. Winners, with their grade levels, were Kirsten Steege (seventh), Caleb Solidum (seventh), Alexandra Williams (sixth), Christopher Powers (sixth), Jennifer Rakowski (fifth) and Sean Kirby (fifth).