Students prepare for county science fair

BUFORD - Meadowcreek High School freshman Bryan Adams stayed after school, creating a new presentation board for his science project.

He lost points in his school's science fair for having a sloppy display and wanted to increase his chance for success Friday in the Gwinnett County Regional Science and Engineering Fair at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center.

Adams is one of seven Meadowcreek students participating in the 30-year tradition - marking the school's first appearance in the county event in more than a decade, said Gerda Louizi, biology and environmental science teacher.

"I don't expect every child in here to become a scientist, but I do expect them to know how to research and collect data ... and analyze," said Louizi, who required her students to create science fair projects this year.

More than 250 students representing 11 high schools have worked on projects individually or in teams, according to a news release. This year's regional competition features 155 different student-researched projects in the fields of physics, engineering, computer science, animal science, microbiology and biochemistry. The projects will be judged by Georgia professionals and scientists based on scientific quality, accuracy, creativity and experimental design.

The projects competing at the county level already have garnered first or second place at their school science fairs. The students who earn first place at the regional level will move to the next round of competition - the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair, scheduled from April 1 to 4 in Athens. Top projects at the state fair will advance to the International Science and Engineering Fair, held from May 10 to 16 in Reno, Nev.

Adams, whose project focused on how to measure the sugar content of a liquid using a laser point, said he's excited to advance to the regional competition.

"I did the (school) science fair thinking I wasn't going to make it," he said, adding that experiencing success helped him recognize his abilities and realize he can succeed.

Perla Galindo, a ninth-grader at Meadowcreek, said doing a science fair project is something students can learn from.

"I learned how to use the scientific method and how to use my time wisely," she said.

This year's event features several additions, including a career fair, the news release states. More than 20 scientists will be on hand to speak with students about future opportunities in the industry. Students will learn from professionals in a police department's CSI unit, a medical center, the airline industry and a research university.

"We believe we need to provide access between our students and the community of scientists, so that our students can reveal and showcase what they do," said Mary Elizabeth Davis, the school system's director of science. "We want our students to see themselves on the other side of the lab bench in the near future. This event is an opportunity to expose our students to the innovation of science."

The public can review the projects from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, and an awards ceremony is slated to begin at 7 p.m.