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Victories in STEM

Maclay Students Take on Science Fair

Photo by Lauren Soto

The Capital Regional Science and Engineering Fair took place at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center on Feb. 9, 2024. The competition included projects from students in Leon County, Wakulla County and Jefferson County. These students had the option to place their projects in one of 22 categories and compete amongst students within the chosen category.

“Overall, I feel like the science fair team gave an incredible showing for my first year as sponsor,” Science Fair sponsor Lauren Soto said. “Of the five teams we sent, all projects came in either first or second place in addition to the best in show award from our middle schoolers. I’m looking forward to taking our projects to the state competition in April and to see how our projects perform.”

Junior Leah Song competed in the category of Behavioral and Social Sciences which includes projects that research the study of cognitions, emotions, behavior and/or learning of humans and animals. She placed first for her project titled "The Effect of Bilingualism on Brain Anatomical Features and Identity Development During Adolescence.” The purpose of her project was to investigate how being fluent in multiple languages changes the structure of the brain. She will advance to the 69th State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida held in Lakeland.

Sophomore Suhani Gawde competed in her category of Biomedical and Health Sciences which focuses on studies specifically designed to address issues of human health and disease. She placed second for her project "Does E-cigarette Exposure During Pregnancy Change GABA Neuron Migration?" The purpose of her project was to investigate how second-hand e-cigarette smoke during pregnancy affects the function of brain cells. She will advance to the 69th State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida in Lakeland as well.

“I thought my presentation went really well, I felt very prepared overall,” Gawde said. “I did science fair for two years in middle school, but this was my first year competing in the high school category, so I kind of knew what to expect but I was not prepared for the amount of competition in the highschool category. I learned how to present and be ready to answer questions. I also learned a lot about statistics and about the molecular biology within the brain.”

Sophomore Alex Wang placed second in his category of Mathematics and Computer Sciences for his project "Machine Learning Predicts 3D Printing Infill Performance.” The purpose of his project was to see how machine learning predicts how 3D printers use infill which is the internal structure of a 3D printed part. Sophomore Caroline Couch placed second in her category of Animal Sciences for her project "The Predictive Value of Tibial Plateau Angle for Risk of Cranial Cruciate Ligament Rupture in Dogs Year 2.” The purpose of her project is to see how a dog’s shin structure determines the strength of the ligament connecting to it.

“I feel like my presentation went very well,” Couch said. “This is my fourth year doing science fair and I feel like it helped me be more comfortable with the process of researching and conducting the experiment. Science fair has taught me how to write scientific papers, research plans, abstracts and organize data in graphs and tables.”


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Andy Poll

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