STEM Fair Winners 2020

Written by Isabella Ocasio 

On January 29th, middle and high school students attended the STEM Fair held at Robarts Arena to showcase their personal scientific research. Many Suncoast Polytech students were there. Below are some brief overviews of student experiments. 

Devin McAbee: Could ABS Polymers be Used to Create Habitable Structures on Mars to Withstand the Pressure Differential? 

Devin McAbee tested ABS polymers (a 3D printing material) to see if they would be a useful material on Mars for when humans one day colonize it. He 3D printed some structures and simulated the conditions of Mars (temperature, wind, pressure, and other harsh conditions) to test the reliability of ABS polymers. Devin’s experiment shows that ABS polymers are a strong material that can withstand harsh conditions quite well.  

Jacqueline Anders: Is Your Food a 10? Because Basic is Better  

Jacqueline Anders did an experiment on how cooking methods alter the pH of food. This was to help determine which cooking method is healthiest. Jacqueline included pressure cooking, boiling, and freezing in her testing. In the end, it was shown that pressure cookers made food the most acidic. 

Brayden Rice and Aiden Jenkins: Is Gaming Really Slowing You Down? 

Brayden and Aiden showcased how science experiments don’t have to be extraordinarily scholarly and high-level. They ran an experiment on how video games influence reaction times. The two found that more video gaming typically equates to better reaction speeds. 

Daniel Blake 

Daniel, in today’s crippling environmental crisis, wanted to find an adequate replacement for paper straws that would benefit the ocean and the economy. He ran an experiment with straw-shaped pastas to see which one maintained its sturdy structure the longest in different types of drinks. Daniel’s experiment shows that larger pasta straws maintain denseness the best, and pasta straws are a promising alternative for paper. 

The fair was organized by category – there was a behavioral science table with psychological research projects, a marine science table with experiments on aquatic life, a mathematics and engineering table, and so on. There was a winner for each category, in addition to some “Special” awards. Two SPHS students placed! Isabella Ocasio (that’s the author of this article!) won second place at the behavioral sciences table, and Devin McAbee was awarded a special engineering award. Interestingly, these two students are students from AP Capstone Research. 

An award ceremony will be held later in February to award these winning students, and others. 

Congrats to the winning students of STEM Fair, and bravo to all students that made a brave effort!