Texas A&M at Galveston, in partnership with the University of Texas Medical Branch and Galveston College, hosted the 35th annual Galveston County Science and Engineering Fair on Saturday. This year’s event attracted 200 students grades 7 through 12 from fourteen schools in Galveston County.(Correct)
The event, a competition, featured student-produced exhibits. Categories for the exhibits included behavioral/social science, biochemistry/microbiology, botany, environmental science, medicine and health, zoology, chemistry, computer science, earth/space science, engineering, mathematics and physics.
Students engaged in scientific inquiry and process including formulating a hypothesis and testing their hypothesis. “Virtual reality did not improve the ability to remember where objects are in a 3-D environment. Therefore, my hypothesis was proven false.” said Blake Propst, a ninth grader at Friendswood High School.
Breanna Woolsey, a junior at Dickinson High School, set out to determine greater levels of light pollution. “Based on my research there is a higher level of light pollution in Texas City than in Dickinson,” she said.
Working on a science fair project begins months, even years in advance of the event as students research and gather their data. “I began compiling my body of knowledge two years ago as an intern in a lab, but my experiment started in August 2016 and ended in December,” Crystal Chacko, a Friendswood High School senior. explained
Ball High School student, Sumedha Kota, tested the effects of Vialinin A, which is a compound found on some tiny mushrooms, on the growth of cancer cells. Her results showed a decline in cancer cells when exposed to Vialinin A, while the normal cells were not affected by her test.
The students were judged by volunteer judges with backgrounds in the fields of science, math, medicine and engineering. Scoring was based on the following criteria: creative ability, scientific thought, skill, clarity, and thoroughness.
Judges interviewed the students to be sure each competitor is able to articulate clearly what their experiment entailed. Coaching to speak with judges is part of training for the science fair. “I pretend I’m a judge and talk to them to help them prepare for the event,” said Carol Bullock, science teacher and science curriculum specialist at Dickinson School District.
The students are divided into two divisions, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade form the junior division and 9th-12th make the senior division. Awards were given to both divisions. Winning students received plaques, trophies, certificates, cash, and scholarships.
This year’s event was hosted by UTMB and held at Moody Gardens Convention Center. The audience consisted of several hundred people, including parents and other family members of the young scientists.
Texas A&M at Galveston, Galveston College and University of Texas Medical Branch each host the event for two year terms. Science Fair Co-Chairs are Dr. David Baca of TAMUG, Dr. Clifford Houston of UTMB, and Dr. James Salazar of Galveston College.