On Campus

STEM Fair features work in various fields

Over 50 Upper School (US) students and faculty explored 14 projects ranging from social science experiments to physics demonstrations at the second annual STEM Fair on February 1.

Former Girls Advancing in STEM (GAINS) Presidents Lily Druker and Ali Plump organized the event last year to encourage community members’ exploration in the STEM field. This year, GAINS Co-Presidents Halley Douglas, Klara Kummerle, and Anna Soloshenko (all ’19) spearheaded the event.

Via a What’s Happening email in November, Science Teacher and GAINS Faculty Advisor Jennifer Gatti inviting students to create a project that innovatively solves a problem facing the world.

Dr. Gatti said she hoped students would have the chance to do experiments that interest them.

“We don’t always have to use fancy equipment to come up with creative projects,” she said. “In this fair, people are answering basic questions in really cool ways, and that’s what I love about what our students come up with.”

One booth at the fair was a virtual reality project created by Anoushka Mahendra-Rajah, Priya Devavaram, Aanika Patel, and Marie Quintanar (all ’21), who took turns drawing in 3D, standing on Mount Everest, and flying around Google Earth using a headset connected to a software on a Razor Blade laptop.

“Technology is constantly evolving and progressing, so we wanted to teach members of the BB&N community the current developments, which won’t stay current for long!” Anoushka said.

Tessa Haining and Lily Brown (both ’19) surveyed the effect of reading methods on the amount of information comprehended, using US students as the testers.

“My project was inspired by classmates who use audiobooks to do their English homework, so I wondered how much of a difference it really made,” Tessa said. Their experiment invited students to read the same story in different forms—like a hard copy, a PDF, or an audiobook—and answer several comprehension questions afterwards. They found that students who read a hard copy or PDF version of the text answered more questions correctly.

Klara designed a project to raise awareness about the harmful effects of world meat consumption by proposing meatless Mondays through a petition, which students and faculty attending the fair signed.

“I chose to do my project on the dangers of the meat industry to the environment and our bodies because not many people know what goes on behind the scenes when you buy beef at the store,” Klara said. “I wanted to share this at the STEM fair because the solution to the problem is simple if people are willing to make a change.”

Klara said she was happy with the projects but wished more people would have come to the fair.

“I hope that next year more people realize that they don’t need to be science or math people to take part in the fair or do a project for the fair. They can have a good time there, too,” Klara said.

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