Students from Northern and Southern Garrett High Schools traveled to Pittsburgh, PA on May 14, 2015 to participate in “Community Outreach Day” at the ISEF International Science & Engineering Fair. This opportunity was made possible by Y. Michelle Harman, Supervisor of College and Career Readiness and funding and support of The Carnegie Science Center and The Society for Science and The Public of Washington, D.C.
“Think Possible – The Future is Bright” was the theme of this year’s fair where over 1700 students from over 75 countries, regions, and territories showcased their independent research. Each year, millions of students worldwide compete in science fairs, following which the winners may go on to participate in INTEL ISEF-affiliated regional, state, and national fairs in order to earn the chance to attend the internationals. The INTEL ISEF provides award of about $5 million in prizes and scholarships annually. The INTEL ISEF is a program of The Society for Science & The Public (SPP) which is a non-profit organization dedicated to public engagement in scientific research and education. Their overall motto is “Inform. Educate. Inspire.” They seek to promote understanding and appreciation of science and the vital role it plays in human advancement.
Students who attended the field trip experienced four Finalist Hall areas featuring all of the projects in this year’s international competition. During the Finalist Hall visits, students could interact with INTEL ISEF participants from around the world, listen to presentations about projects, collect project abstracts, and much more. Students also experienced a hands-on investigation called “When Invasives Attack!” which focused on the effect of invasive species on the ecosystem and life’s fragile balance. The students conducted water analysis, determined species diversity through plot sampling, and observed species of plankton in water samples using the microscope. All quantitative and qualitative factors were considered to determine the overall health of each body of water in this study. The invasive species in each environment were the Zebra and Quagga Mussels. The entire group then debated the approach to the problems encountered in 2 lake environments: Lake Erie and Lake Pymatuning and determined which lake was better suited for restoration efforts. GCPS students and chaperones also toured the Expo Hall during their visit where they could participate in demonstrations and exhibits by vendors, colleges, industries, etc.
Teachers/chaperones for the trip included Mrs. Erin Coffman (SHS), Mr. Brian Price (NHS), Mrs. Maxine Miller (NMS), Ms. Y. Michelle Harman (Central Office), and Mr. Eric Savage (DNR/Parent). Thanks to the GCPS and GCBOE for their support of this trip. Special thanks again to The Carnegie Science Center and the generosity of The Society for Science & The Public for their funding support of transportation and substitute coverage.
The International Fair will rotate to California and Arizona before returning to Pittsburgh, PA in 2018. GCPS competes in the Regional INTEL ISEF-affiliated Pittsburgh, PA, which is currently the closest regional-affiliated fair in which Garrett County students can enter their research projects.
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