Student wins at science fair

Maharishi School student Shristi Sharma won several awards at the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa held March 22-23 at Hilton Coliseum on the Iowa State University campus in Ames.

Hundreds of junior and senior high-school students competed for prizes, awards and scholarships during the science and technology fair. The fair serves as the first fair of the year as part of the Iowa 4-H Youth Development Program.

?The science fair isn?t what most people think of when you put fair and 4-H together,? said Jay Staker, with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development. But like all fairs within 4-H, this is a showcase that allows youth to interact with judges about their work and learn from experts.?

The SSTFI addresses the Next Generation Science Standards? call for students to create scientific research using the practices of science and engineering. The Next Generation Science Standards include critical thinking and communication skills, which are important for postsecondary success, according to the National Research Council.

SSTFI is a critical scientific experience for Iowa youth that couldn?t be possible without the students, teachers, parents, volunteers, judges and sponsors.

?Many participants work up to a full year or longer on their research projects for this event,? said Staker, who also chairs the fair?s advisory board.

Through participating in SSTFI, students learn a variety of skills through the creating, investigating and presenting phases of their projects.

?These skills that are foundational in 4-H include planning, implementation, problem solving, inquiry and communication,? Staker said.

Featured projects helped expand understanding on chemotherapy resistance in cancer cells, improving water quality in Iowa using biochar filters and changing bias with education. This research is often on a par with that done by college students and, in some cases, professionals.

?This research is a great example of the 4-H model that centers on youth choice supported by caring, adult mentors,? Staker said. ?Iowa 4-H is the youth development program of ISU Extension and Outreach and the SSTFI experience is one of the largest 4-H learning communities in Iowa.?

More than 800 students from more than 70 schools competed for prizes, awards and scholarships valued at over $50,000. A select few will attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona, and others will display their projects at the National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Sharma?s project, ?Phishing: Don?t Take the Bait, Protect Your Sensitive Information,? won:

? Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Trip Award, student observer;

? Computer Science category first place; and

? Intel Excellence in Computer Science and $200 cash award.

Also, at the Eastern Iowa Science and Engineering Fair, Sharma received the SISEF Honorable Mention ? Senior and the Inspiriring Excellence: Alan B. Adams Meritorious Achievement awards.


More winners

Other winners from the area at the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa in March were:

Best Food Science and Human Nutrition Junior Project: Jasmine Padget, Van Buren High School;

Iowa State University Program for Women in Science and Engineering: Madeline Black, Pekin Middle School;

Excellence in Science Related to Biology: Avary Bartholomew, Van Buren High School.

NASA Earth Systems Science Award: McKenna Caviness and Shea Scott, Van Buren High School; and

Junior High Reserve Champion: Nathan Davidson and Cohyn Jury, Van Buren High School.