Science projects get creative

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer

Which orange juice has the highest Vitamin C content?

According to the research of Hobbs freshman Zachary Weber, it’s the fresh-squeezed variety. Weber presented his science project along with other middle and high school students at the Regional Science and Engineering Fair on Saturday at Eastern New Mexico University.

Weber, who has participated in the science fair since sixth grade, said he liked talking to other exhibitors and seeing if he could learn more from the judges.

“I would like to see a lot more competition,” he said.

Only 10 projects competed in the ninth through 12th grade division, but many more took part in the sixth through eighth grade division.

Fair Director Ken Cradock said 144 competitors were pre-registered to attend.

“The numbers locally are way up from past years, which has been a nice change,” he said.

Cradock said 37 students qualified for the state competition in April. Four youths, all from Carlsbad High School, earned places at May’s international science fair, two as competitors and two as alternates.

“There were a lot of really, really good projects here,” Cradock said.

The projects had a lot of potential to continue improving, he continued.

Adriana Medina, 15, of Vaughn, observed the regional fair to get ideas since her teacher may sponsor projects next year.

“It’s kind of interesting,” she said.

Medina particularly liked the idea of studying which sample of dog saliva killed the most bacteria, as one of this year’s competitors had done.

From the viewpoint of Weber’s mother, Lori Weber, science fair participation is great.

“It’s fun to watch them learn,” she said.

The projects teach students to research and prepare them for higher education, Lori Weber said.

ENMU President Steven Gamble said also expressed support, saying he was glad the university was part of the science fair.

“Today’s scientists, I’m sure, began their participation in the science fairs of their schools,” he said.

2009 Regional Science Fair Awards from the area


Portales Junior High School

• Coby Carter, second place, energy and transportation

• Hannah N. Christensen and Hannah E. Wagner, first place, teams projects

• Haley Madden, second place, physics and astronomy

Clovis

Marshall Middle School

• Devon Boddy, U.S. Air Force special award

• Savannah Dosher, Association for Women Geoscients special award

• James Smart, second place, chemistry

Mesa Elementary School

• Nathan Dart, second place, animal science

• Tanner Geisler, first place, environmental science

• Mason Odom, first place, engineering: materials and bioengineering, Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society and U.S. Army special awards

• Kyle Schwartz, first place, electrical and mechanical engineering, National Society of Professional Engineers special award

• Nellie Toliver, second place, behavioral and social sciences

Yucca Middle School

• Lessie Smithhisler, first place, mathematical science

Zia Elementary School

• Zack Burrell, New Mexico Student Loan Association special award

• Derik Kuykendall, second place, medicine and health

• Jon Tello, second place, environmental management

• Shaylee Warner, first place, chemistry