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Mariner High School Science Fair showcases multi-discipline academy

By Staff | Dec 2, 2009

The Mariner High School Science Fair kicked off Tuesday afternoon with three judges examining the work of 24 students.
It’s been eight years since the high school hosted its own science fair, yet this week 10 teams displayed projects ranging in subject from soil types to ballistic capabilities.
Michelle Hellman, a teacher in the high school’s new Math, Science and Technology Academy, said there were nine teams with multiple students and one team with a single person.
“We are excited to do the science fair and we want Mariner to be on the forefront for math, science and technology,” said Hellman.
Judges for the fair included Stephanie Smith, a project manager for the city’s Public Works Department; Amanda Sheehe, assistant engineer for AECOM Water and Roger Brown from GRD E Engineering, Inc.
They scored each student using criteria from the Thomas Alva Edison Regional Science Fair and awarded a first, second and third place, as well as an honorable mention.
Hellman said the school is hoping to send between four to five of its strongest teams to compete in the regional competition at Harborside Event Center in January.
“This was open to the whole school but many of them are MST kids,” she said.
The district’s new academy just opened last school year. Coordinator Lisa Vazquez said students submit an extensive application to enroll at the academy, including an electronic portfolio. This year there were approximately 90 students enrolled in the academy.
“They take advanced classes starting their freshman year focusing on engineering and scientific research,” said Vazquez.
Officials from the district and academy administrators will co-present their integrated curriculum — IBET or Integrated, Biology, English and Technology — alongside Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia, one of the top science schools in the country, at a national conference for secondary schools which focus on math, science and technology.
Tenth grade students Monica Amaya, Alexa Macri and Amanda Yoho displayed their project for judges on Tuesday afternoon. They tested water clarity as it relates to the eating habits of a water bug.
“We tested to see how cloudy the water was based on how often they eat,” said Amaya.
She also performed another experiment with water bugs last year for her IBET project.
Winners of the science fair will be announced tonight. The school will host an award ceremony with refreshments starting at 6 p.m. inside Mariner High’s Media Center.