Seven of Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s students presented their projects at this year’s State Science Fair April 7-9 in Bloomington: Andy Steffl, Mike Hirsch, Nate Lax, Alison Drexler, Megan Helget, Grace Steffl and Isabella Portner.
The State Science and Engineering Fair is an annual competition that showcases Minnesota’s best and brightest students in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
From approximately 2,500 regional participants, 500 are chosen to present at the State Science Fair. Students conduct their own original research and present it before a number of judges.
They learn individually and from others by discussing the nature of the scientific inquiry, defending their reasoning, and articulating their specific findings orally and graphically with a display board. Students are evaluated on four criteria: the process of science; effectiveness of communication; context of the project and their scope of understanding.
Andy Steffl was recognized for the opportunity to compete at Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), a program of Society for Science and the world’s largest international pre-college science competition.
ISEF is the premier science competition held annually that provides a forum for more than 1,600 high school students from over 63 countries to showcase their independent research. These top young scientific minds showcase their talent on an international stage, while enabling them to submit their work for judging by doctoral level scientists. ISEF this year will be held in Phoenix, Ariz., May 12-17.
The title of Andy’s project was: “The Effects of Pleurotus ostreatus on the Deterioration of Petroleum.” His parents are Dan and Lisa Steffl.
Nate Lax and Mike Hirsch were recognized for the work they did with their project, “The Effects of Solar Flares on Various Types of Electronic Shielding.” The first award was given by the US Air Force for the best project focusing on Math, Science, Engineering and Technology that offers Air Force applicability. Next they received an award from 3M, which was a third place innovative award for a project in the high school division. The Minnesota Academy of Science Bronze Grand Award was also given to Mike and Nate for a project scoring within the top 15 percent of all presenters. Their parents are Randy and Diane Lax and Tom and Sharon Hirsch.
Other participants at the fair include freshman Alison Drexler and Megan Helget with their team project, “Is Age a Measure of Patience?” Alison’s parents are Sara Wendinger and Jeremy Drexler. Megan’s parents are Rick and Becky Helget.
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Eighth graders Isabella Portner and Grace Steffl also presented their team project which was titled: “The Effects of Pasteurization on Refrigerated and Unrefrigerated Colostrum.” Their parents are Tom and Mary Portner and Dan and Lisa Steffl.