By Helen Zeidman
One day a year, the Red Lion Area Senior High School’s cafeteria is turned into a center for innovation and research. Students from every grade contribute to this event of creativity and learning. The high school held its third in-house science fair to display the hard work and investigative talents of its student body on Jan. 29.
Professionals in various fields of science and technology judged about 150 projects Even though the number of participants was lower than last year, the boards still had a large range of topics, with everything from personality types and plant growth to video games and solar panels.
Since students can research any field of science, these projects extended across multiple subjects and incorporated skills from a plethora of areas. This made the fair very diverse.
“One of the things it prepares students for is work in college, no matter the discipline,” Mrs. Valerie Stone, the science fair coordinator, said. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be science.”
There were many projects that mixed topics, such as English and psychology, sports and physics, as well as philosophy and science. These creative projects tended to do well in the fair, since multidimensional projects tend to be more interesting and innovative.
“The best ones are the ones that didn’t come from Sciencebuddies.com,” Mrs. Stone said. “The best ones are when people try to find something instead of show something.”
One student who took that quite literally was the senior division Grand Champion, senior Jessica Sun. She won the fair with her continued research on 3D printers.
“I wanted to include 3D printing because it’s what I did last year,” Sun said. “I wanted to do something different so I researched self-healing materials, but I also wanted to incorporate some of my prior knowledge.”
Sun is familiar with the science fair since she has conducted an experiment every year of high school. In addition, she has previously competed in the York County Science and Engineering Fair (YCSEF) and even won a first place last year. Her project this year focused on creating materials with a 3D printer that could essentially repair themselves.
Senior Hannah Eisenhart-Seitz is also a repeat winner. This year, she won the reserve grand champion of the senior division with her work on adhesives, which is the same prize she won at last year’s Red Lion fair.
The junior division also had strong representation with freshman Kiersten Lloyd as the Grand Champion and Devin Irizarry as the Reserve Grand Champion. Lloyd’s project investigated the prevention of water loss in eggs by changing the type of carton. Irizarry’s project compared different types of fertilizers, specifically organic versus chemical.
The next step in the science fair journey is the YCSEF competition held on March 6. Red Lion has a strong history at the YCSEF with a partnered Grand Champion who moved on to the International Science and Engineering Fair last year. With the higher stakes at the YCSEF, students do not get a break between now and March. Instead, the month in between is spent revising, rewriting, and reorganizing to prepare for the larger fair.
Even though the competition may be fierce, the love of science and pure curiosity are really what keep the students coming back.
According to Sun, “Science is a great way to learn about new topics and find something that interests you and has applications beyond the classroom.”