American Heritage dominates East Idaho science fair
POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) -- Student projects from American Heritage Charter School in Idaho Falls earned both Best in Fair awards at the 2023 Eastern Idaho Science and Engineering Fair, and one from Alturas Preparatory Academy in Idaho Falls garnered Fair Runner Up.
They were among 28 projects that 42 students from nine schools presented at the seventh annual event, which Idaho STEM Action Center staged Feb. 24 at Idaho State University.
This was the first time middle-schoolers were allowed to compete as a pilot project the STEM Action Center hopes to expand to all three regional science fairs next year.
BEST IN FAIR WINNERS
"The Effects of Gibberellin Concentration On The Development of Plants" by AHCS junior Logan Krohn earned one of two Best in Fair awards. He also received Best in Category in Earth, Environmental, and Plant Sciences and a Category Gold award, as well as several special awards, including the U.S. Metric Association Award and the Cross Charitable Foundation Environmental Sciences Award.
ACHS sophomore Jasmine Lima garnered the other Best in Fair award for her project, "Tsunami Sound (T-Sound): Mitigating Tsunamis Using Acoustic Gravity Waves." She also captured Best in Category in Physical Sciences, a Category Gold award, and several special awards, including an Office of Naval Research Award, a Stockholm Junior Water Prize, a U.S. Air Force Award, and third place from the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineering.
On top of serious bragging rights, the Best in Fair winners will represent Idaho at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in May. The winning teams from each Idaho regional fair and their mentors earned all-expense-paid trips to attend and compete in the event in Dallas, Texas, May 13-19.
FAIR RUNNER UP
Alturas Preparatory Academy sophomore Oliver Nathan earned Fair Runner Up for his project "The Prisoner's Dilemma." He also won a Category Gold award, Best in Category in Behavioral and Social Sciences, and a U.S. Air Force Award.
FIVE STRANDS, MANY AWARDS
Students in sixth through 12th grades throughout Eastern and Southern Idaho were eligible to submit entries in five categories: Animal, Biomedical, and Microbiological Sciences; Behavioral and Social Sciences; Earth, Environmental, and Plant Sciences; Physical Sciences; and Engineering, Mathematics, and Computer Science.
Alturas Preparatory Academy and Hillcrest High School students captured the two remaining Best in Category awards:
* "Best Workout" by Hillcrest High School junior Kylee Anderson, senior Jordyn Jackson, and junior Averi Summers earned a Best in Category in Animal, Biomedical, and Microbiological Sciences and a Category Gold award.
* "Slayer Exciter Circuit and Energy Output" by Alturas Preparatory Academy sophomore Simon Karroum earned a Best in Category in Engineering, Mathematics, and Computer Science and a Category Gold award, as well as the Lewis Award for Engineering and first place from the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers. He also earned a $1,000 scholarship for up to 4 years from the University of Idaho's College of Engineering.
Judges honored five more projects with Category Gold awards: "Effects of Subliminal Messaging on People's Food Choices," a Behavioral and Social Sciences entry by Hagerman High School freshman Annalise Coit and sophomore Saree Hillstead; "A Way to Save the Seas: Using Plants to Combat Ocean Acidification," an Earth, Environmental and Plant Sciences entry by Hillcrest High School senior Abbie Holtom; "Violuric Acid: A Novel Way To Detect and Determine Trace Metals and Amine Bases In Water," a Physical Sciences entry by Hillcrest High School junior Jaxon Hoover and Central High School senior Jacob Larsen; "How Does Temperature Affect Human Performance," a middle school Biological and Environmental Sciences entry by Farnsworth Middle School eighth-graders Zayden Kelly, Carter King, and Ridge Turner; and "Show Goat Preferences on Treated Chlorine Water," a middle school Biological and Environmental Sciences entry by Hagerman High School eighth-graders Katherine Kinder and Jonah Knapp.
The two middle school Category Gold award winners will advance to the Thermo Fisher Scientific Junior Innovators Challenge, an international middle-school competition staged online by the Society for Science.
Two other students earned scholarships for their projects: Idaho State University awarded Rigby High School senior Chun Kit Bruce Lam with a $1,000 scholarship, and Boise State University awarded Hillcrest High School senior Abbie Holtom with a $1,000 scholarship.
The STEM Action Center presented 16 other projects with Category Silver awards and an additional 24 special awards from the American Psychological Association, Association for Women Geoscientists, Broadcom Foundation, Cross Charitable Foundation, Idaho Academy of Science and Engineering, Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers, The Lemelson Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Geographic Society, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Naval Research, Regeneron, Society for In Vitro Biology, Ricoh USA, Stockholm International Water Institute, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Metric Association, United States Agency for International Development, and Yale Science and Engineering Association.
American Heritage Charter School earned the Top School award. The award is calculated based on total projects and total category awards, including Silver, Gold, Best in Category, and Best in Fair. Science teacher Alaysha Whitworth coached American Heritage Charter School's participants, who earned both Best in Fair awards, two of the five Best in Category awards, two of the 10 Category Golds, and two of the 16 Category Silvers. Whitworth was named EISEF's top-performing educator.
A group of local experts from an array of STEM-related fields served as judges.
ONE OF THREE REGIONAL FAIRS
EISEF is one of three regional science fairs the STEM Action Center stages statewide each spring. Boise State University hosted the Western Idaho Science and Engineering Fair in Boise March 3, and the University of Idaho hosted the Northern Idaho Science and Engineering Fair March 10. The Best of Fair winners from those events will join the top EISEF prizewinners at the international science fair courtesy of the STEM Action Center.
The STEM Action Center is presenting the 2023 Idaho Science and Engineering Fairs in partnership with the NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium, Micron, Battelle Energy Alliance, Cross Charitable Foundation, Idaho Central Credit Union, Sahai Family Foundation Inc., POWER Foundation, Idaho Power, Lewis Corporation, Elizabeth Bearden, Nutrien, Society for Science, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, and Applied Materials.
ENSURING ECONOMIC PROSPERITY
According to STEM Action Center executive director Caty Solace, competitions like these are important to the state's future, offering students opportunities to engage in original research projects aligned with their interests and meet and learn with other motivated students in their area.
"Participating in our science fairs and other STEM competitions challenges students to think creatively about real-world problems, seek solutions collaboratively, and explain their findings succinctly," Solace said. "This experience will prove invaluable when they enter the workforce."
She said STEM jobs in Idaho are projected to grow 15.4 percent by 2030, outpacing the national average of STEM job growth at 10 percent, and that 90 percent of jobs will require digital literacy within a decade.
STEM jobs are interesting and rewarding, Solace said, and include careers in healthcare, engineering, software development, finance, agriculture, and construction.
"STEM jobs pay nearly twice as much as non-STEM jobs," she said. "And Gov. Little's plan to help bolster these coveted careers with the proposed $8,500 workforce training grants up for consideration by the state legislature will make a huge difference when enacted."
ABOUT IDAHO STEM ACTION CENTER
Idaho STEM Action Center is an education and growth catalyst helping educators, businesses, families, and communities prepare the workforce of tomorrow. An incubator, connector, and advocate of STEM thinking and initiatives, the agency provides resources, support, and problem solving that spark innovation and offer paths to prosperity based on Idahoans' shared values of hard work, collaboration, self-determination, family, and community stability. Learn more at stem.idaho.gov and visit stem.idaho.gov/support-us/foundation to make a tax-deductible donation to its 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation to enhance the investment the state has made in Idaho's STEM community. Contributions provide greater access to STEM camps for children, student competitions, and many other life-shaping programs.