The EnvironMentors National Science Fair is the culminating event of the EnvironMentors program, during which the top three winners from each EnvironMentors’s chapters across the country gather to present their research projects and compete for the top award prizes. The National Science Fair is held every year in Washington D.C, home of the EnvironMentors program. The 2019 EnvironMentors National Science Fair was held from June 1st to June 4th, 2019. A total of 20 plus students from 8 EnvironMentors chapters across the nation gathered in Washington this past weekend, to not only meet each other for the very first time but socialize with one another and also compete for the top three scholarship prizes.
The National Council for Science and the EnvironMentors (NCSE), which is the parent organization of the EnvironMentors program, organized fun and engaging activities that our student enjoyed during the trip to Washington D.C. All chapter students and leaders arrived and settled in the hotel accommodations on Saturday, June 1st. On Sunday, June 2nd, students, first, got a special tour of the entomology department in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. During the tour, they got to learn about the conservation of the different species of insects being studied at the Smithsonian. Next, students got to tour the National Museum of African American History and Culture where they learned more about the rich history of African Americans spanning from the 1400s to the present day. Following tours of both museums, students also got to have a fun time visiting the Smithsonian National Zoo.
After an eventful weekend, the Science Fair was held the next day, Monday, June 3rd at the Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives. Established in the 1800s, the Charles Sumner school was one of the first public elementary school buildings for African American students in Washington, D.C. The Sumner School was built as a national monument to honor former U.S Senator Charles Sumner, who was well known for his leadership and contributions to the anti-slavery forces in Massachusetts during the American Civil War. Today, the Sumner school collects and preserves rich and cultural materials and documents that capture the untold stories of the people, history, and evolution of the D.C public education system. During the Science Fair, the top three students, a total of 16 from 8 EnvironMentors chapters presented the research projects that they worked hard on during the 2018-2019 academic year. Their research projects were reviewed by experts and professionals from diverse fields who served as Judges during the Fair.
This year, NCSE selected three winners for the Science Fair and our students, Tyrin-Ian Todd and Natalia Carrasco-Munoz’s research, entitled Particles Matter: The Creation of a Low-Cost Sensor Network, came first place and won the scholarship award of $2500. Anh Vo of the University of California Davis chapter won 2nd place, and Briana Coleman of the Louisiana State University chapter placed third. Our two additional students that presented at the National Science Fair were Shawn Oputa whose research project is entitled Developing a web-based, interactive streamflow viewer tool; and Ireolubowa Mayegun, whose research project is titled temporal Variability of Carbon Dioxide Measured in Indianapolis, Indiana. We Are extremely proud of our student participants for their hard work and dedication this academic year and for contributing to Penn State EnvironMentors’ success in our first year. We are looking forward to recruiting and impact the lives of more students at not only at University Park but also at every Penn State Branch campus in the future.