Saint Joseph School students compete in virtual science fair

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – A total of 25 students in grades seven and eight at Saint Joseph School in Martinsburg recently participated in a virtual science fair.

The overall winner, who is moving on to the West Virginia Science and Engineering Fair, was seventh-grader Cora Farmer, whose project in the energy category was called “The Sound of Silence.” Second place overall was awarded to eighth-grader Colleen Power, whose project was called “Hearing Things: A Study of Pareidolia,” in the behavioral and social sciences category. Eighth-grader Allison McDonald won third place overall with her earth and environmental sciences entry titled “Is Composite Worth the Cost?”

Judges for the March 1 virtual event were Courtney Bittner, Mark Lannon, Casandra Burch and Natalie Geisz, all of whom are education majors at Shepherd University; Sophia Rickrode, an alumna and prekindergarten aide at the school; and Daniel O’Leary, a former aerospace technician with Lockheed Martin who met SJS middle-schoolers via Zoom in February to discuss his work on the Mars rover Perseverance.

Other winners were:

Animal sciences:
First place: Julia Stedman, “What Temperature Does Your Dog ‘Pawfur?’”

Plant sciences:
First place: Arabella Cole, “You like music; Do your plants?”
Second place: Lydia Hayes, “Does Arbuscular Mycorrhizae affect the growth of Alfalfa Plants?”
Honorable mention: Evelyn Diaz-Perez, “Will it Grow?”

Earth and environmental sciences:
First place: Allison McDonald, “Is Composite Worth the Cost?”

Behavioral/social sciences:
First place: Colleen Power, “Hearing Things? A Study of Pareidolia”
Second place: Olivia Rish, “Does this Matter?”
Third place: Ethan Dunn, “Are Baby-Proof Locks Really Baby-Proof?”

Biomedical and health sciences:
Honorable mention: Bracha Warui, “Dealing with Diabetes”

First place: Jacob Scott, “We Prove the Crime, You do the Time”
Second place: Aidan Tran, “Melting Point”
Honorable mention: Tiffany Nguyen, “Can You Beat the Heat?”

Material science:
Third place: Bailey Summers, “Staying Warm”

Physics and astronomy:
Second place: Ian Saylor, “Archery: Spin Vane Performance”
Honorable mention: Brandon Stuart, “The Bounce Factor”

Second place: Angela Aparicio, “Wooden Hydraulic Lift”

Systems software:
First place: Abraham Warui, “Hacking the Air Gap”

First place: Cora Farmer, “Sound of Silence”
Third place: Nicolas Domenico, “Which Materials Make the Hottest and Most Efficient Solar Oven?”


The overall winner of Saint Joseph School’s science fair was Cora Farmer, center. At left is Colleen Power, who placed second; and Allison McDonald, right, who took third place.