Two high school students from St. David, a freshman and a sophomore, were the grand prize winners at the 2013 Youth Engineering and Science (YES) Fair at the Windemere Hotel and Conference Center in Sierra Vista on March 7.
In addition, Adriana Gamez, a Benson Middle School fifth-grader walked away as the grand prize winner for the 5-6 division with her project, “Mammoth Tracks and Sedimentation.”
As the 9-12 grand prize winners, freshman student Elizabeth Daley and sophomore Hannah Dahl will be heading to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix in May. The girls, along with their teacher and adviser, Larry Chandler, will receive an all-expense paid trip to the event, funded by YES Fair sponsors, Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative (SSVEC) and the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA).
“Every year, my students are required to submit a science research project and if they’re competitive, I encourage them to enter the YES Fair,” said Chandler. “Elizabeth’s project was titled ‘Stem Growth and Regulation in Mint Plants’ and Hannah’s was ‘Eroding Erosion.’ The YES Fair awards two grand champions in the high school range and both girls won,” Chandler added.
The top five project winners were presented with awards at the conclusion of the fair, with presentations made to the grand prize winners last.
Elizabeth Daley described what it was like during the awards presentation. “As I was standing in front of the room and realized that Hannah Dahl and I had just won the grand prizes, my first thought was, ‘Wow, that’s a relief. I don’t have to stress about that anymore. My next thought was, ‘Yes I do! I’m going to ISEF! I just won $500.’ Then I turned to Hannah and mouthed the words, ‘We’re going to Phoenix.”
While she’s excited about the international competition in May, Daley says she and Dahl have a lot of work to do before they go. “This is so exciting and I am so happy that Hannah is going to be coming too, because she is so much fun.”
Dahl echoed some of her friend’s comments, adding, “I was not at all expecting to win, so it was a huge shock to me. Elizabeth and I are really good friends, so I’m so glad we get to do this together. It’s really cool that we both won.”
As one of the middle school grand prize winners, Gamez was the top competitor in the 5-6 division. “I got the idea to do mammoth tracks when I went hiking with my dad two years ago and he showed me mammoth tracks that were in hard rock,” said Gamez. “We decided to keep the tracks in mind for the YES Fair.” Gamez said she really wasn’t very nervous while answering the judge’s questions and felt confident during her presentation. “I got a plaque and a $500 check for being the grand prize winner,” she said.
This year’s fair drew 217 projects created by students ranging grades five through 12 from throughout southeast Arizona.
Students in SSVEC’s service area and other communities in southeast Arizona were eligible to compete in the fair, with middle school projects assigned to physical science, biological science, technology and engineering or team projects.
High School projects, or the 9-12 division, are based on one of 17 categories defined by the International Science and Engineering Fair. Cash awards are presented for the winning projects and, in the case of team projects, the awards are divided among team members. Advisers of students whose projects received award recognition also earned cash awards.
Special awards were contributed by Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, Net Zero Solar, TransWorld Network, Southwest Association for Education in Biomedical Research, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy/Marine Corps, and the U.S. Air Force. In addition, recognition awards were presented by the Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Metric Association, National Society of Professional Engineers, Association for Women Geoscientists, American Meteorological Society and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
This marked the 30th YES Fair, with more than $19,000 in awards presented.
A complete list of winners can be found at the fair’s website: www.yesfair.com.