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Students shine at state science, engineering fair

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by RON TOGNAZZINI


On April 5-6, students from four Sequim schools entered a total of 25 projects into the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair that is held annually at Bremerton High School.
This year, the fair had more than 500 participants from grades 1-12 who entered more than 450 individual and team projects and gave away about $1.8 million in cash awards and scholarships. Judging was performed with the help of 270 professional volunteers over the two days.
Awards and scholarships were distributed in two ceremonies on April 6. Sequim students walked away with 13 first-place category awards and about 10 percent of the cash awards and scholarships.

A strong Sequim contingent
Sequim schools have been participating in the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair every year since 2005, when Sequim Middle School Science teacher Debra Beckett started the Sequim Science Fair Club. The numbers of students have increased and the generally high quality of their projects has been recognized every year.
As more projects have been added, other teachers, such as Carla Morton of Greywolf Elementary, and numerous mentors have helped with guiding students to excel with their projects. The purpose of these efforts is to promote interests in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by giving Sequim students an opportunity to develop a project of their choice and a chance to compete with other Washington students.

No sophomore slump
This year, Maeve Harris, a sophomore at Sequim High School, walked away with the most awards and was selected to participate in the STEM competition at the International Sustainable World Energy and Engineering Environment Project (I-SWEEP) in Houston, Texas, for a week starting on May 8. Her engineering project was to build an electric energy-producing tree using Piezoelectric Energy Harvesters connected to artificial leaves that vibrate in the breeze.
Harris conducted numerous tests and statistical analyses on nine different leaf types to find the optimum shape and size that could produce electricity. She designed and tested various different electric systems. She is continuing to improve her design for the I-SWEEP competition.
Harris was awarded one renewable scholarship of $20,000 per year from Ohio Wesleyan University and a second of $2,000 per year from the dean of the College of Engineering and Architecture at Washington State University. Harris also was awarded a student edition of Wolfram’s Mathematica software and several other cash and certificate awards.
Skylar Hallinan, an eighth-grader at Sequim Middle School, developed a project on the “Effects of Soil Amendments on Food Crop Growth.” He not only won first place, but — along with Sean Weber, Matt Willis and Molly Crecelius — was given an opportunity to compete with their projects in the Broadcom MASTERS competition for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders held in Washington, D.C., in the fall.
Washington nominees enter the nationwide competition by completing an application explaining their science project and demonstrating their use of STEM principles in the development and presentation of their project. From the thousands of applicants, 300 semifinalists are selected, which are then reviewed again to select 30 finalists.
Second-grader Alliyah Weber and fifth-grader Briana Jack from Helen Haller Elementary School also won first-place awards in their grade levels.
Third-grader Cassidy Crecelius from Greywolf Elementary also won first place in her grade level.
Sequim participants/results by name, grade/division, project title and award:

Helen Haller Elementary
Alliyah Weber, grade 2 — “How Ball Pressure Affects Distance”; First place
Briana Jack, grade 5 — “Seed Preference of Backyard Birds”; First place

Greywolf Elementary
Alyssa Bonheyo, grade 3 — “What combination of baking soda, corn starch and lemon juice create the best invisible ink recipe?” Third place
Cassidy Crecelius, grade 3 — “Effect of Salty Water on Barley Growth”; first place, Central Valley Garden Club
Chloe Morton and Kaylee Dunlap, grade 4 — “How do willow roots effect the growth of invasive aquatic plants in a creek?”; second place    
Douglas Crabb and Truman Nester, grade 4 — “How will pipes made with various materials affect pH and chlorine levels in water over periods of time?”; third place
McKenna Hastings, grade 4 — “How does temperature affect height of a tennis ball bounce?”; second place
Isabelle MacMurchie, grade 5 — “What color light travels brightest through fog?”; third place

Sequim Middle School
Brendan Jack, grade 6 — “How Fin Design Affects a Model Rocket’s Flight Path”; second place, Museum of Flight
Jade Webb, grade 6 — “Effects of Conifer Needles on Seed Germination”; first place
Kaitlyn Viada, grade 6 — “Phytoplankton Populations in Sequim Bay”; second place, U.S. Department of Forestry
Sean Weber, grade 7 — “Strength of Mussel Byssal Threads Versus Wave Action”; first place, Best of Category, Broadcom MASTERS, The Curiosity Award, Michael Summerhays Pitcher Memorial, Pacific Science Center
Matt Willis, grade 8 — “Effects of Paper Type on Paper Airplanes”; first place, Broadcom MASTERS, Museum of Flight
Calvin Hazard, grade 8 — “Rubber Bands: Wider vs. Thinner”; second place, Edison Young Scientist Award
Molly Crecelius, grade 8 — “Degradation of Swimsuit Fabric”; first place, Broadcom MASTERS, Pacific Science Center
Nicole Anders, grade 8 — “The Calcium Levels in Bean Plants Focusing on the Distance Near Objects”; third place
Skylar Hallinan, grade 8 — “Effects of Soil Amendments on Food Crop Growth”; first Place, Best of Category, Broadcom MASTERS, Pacific Science Center.

Sequim High School
Nicholas Howe and Owen Morton, Engineering, Electrical & Mechanical division — “Effects of Seismic Stress Resistance on the Performance of Building Models in Earthquakes”; second place
Ashley Balstrusitus, Environmental Management division — “Mycoremediation of Hydrocarbon Pollutants by Ericoid Mycorrhizae”; first place, U.S. Department of Forestry, Wolfram Research, Ohio Wesleyan University
Brenna Neal, Environmental Sciences division — “The Effects of Ocean Acidification on Bivalve Shells”; first place, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, Water Environment Federation U.S. Regional Stockholm Junior Water Prize, Marine Sciences Award, Wolfram Research, Ohio Wesleyan University
Katherine Landoni, Earth & Planetary Science division — “M9 Subduction Earthquakes as a Basis for Soil Liquefaction Analysis”; first place, National Association for Women Geoscientists, Regional Association for Women Geoscientists, Graphic Design, Wolfram Research
Maeve Harris, Energy & Transportation division — “Generation of Power Using Piezo-Electric Leaves”; first place, International Sustainable World Energy Engineering Environment Project, Mildred Anderson Misic Memorial, Bonneville Power Administration, Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers, Wolfram Research, Ohio Wesleyan University, Washington State University College of Engineering and Architecture
Sarah Henry, Plant Sciences division — “The Effects of Hypobaric Treatment on Post-Harvest Pear Quality”; first place, Wolfram Research, Ohio Wesleyan University, Achievement in Plant Sciences Award.
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