by Bryan Lindenberger

Eighty high school and middle school students from Carroll and neighboring counties converged upon University of West Georgia to compete in the 20th annual West Georgia Regional Science Fair – WGRSEF.

Davis Fabre
Davis Fabre

Students presented over 60 posters of their science and engineering research findings to judges. These volunteer judges included UWG faculty and staff as well as professionals from community partners such as Southwire and the USDA.

Student projects ranged from “Does What We Wear Affect the Way People Interact with Us?” to studies in robotics, solar computing, battery longevity, the antibacterial effects of garlic and much more. The highest scoring projects will move on to state finals before potentially competing internationally in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

The annual fair was held in coordination UWG College of Education and College of Science and Mathematics.

Dr. Stacey Britton, assistant professor of science education in the Department of Early Childhood through Secondary Education, sees the collaboration between the education and science colleges as a natural fit.

“We educate teachers on a daily basis while the College of Science and Mathematics work to prepare future scientists, mathematicians, and engineers,” Britton said. “The partnership between the colleges makes sense because together we support students and education in West Georgia.”

Megan Mayercik agrees. As program coordinator for the Department of Chemistry, she also played an instrumental role in organizing this year’s regional event.

“It’s a lot of work for a student to present a research project,” Mayercik said. “It’s a positive, learning experience because they compete outside the comfort zone of their schools. The fair challenges them with a larger market where they see not only new faces but new ideas.”

Students also had opportunities to visit UWG’s new biology building, witness 3D printing and virtual reality demonstrations, and choose from a multitude of dining options while touring UWG’s 645-acre green campus.

“I enjoyed visiting my mom’s dorm and seeing the stadium,” said Davis Fabre, a sophomore from Newnan High School with an award-winning project titled “Should You Go Organic? Fruit Flies Think So!”

Caitlann Arrant
Caitlann Arrant

Awardee Caitlann Arrant – also a sophomore from Carrollton High School – presented a project called “Iron Man.”

“I hypothesized that iron would be absorb best on an empty stomach,” Arrant said. Her process involved using solutions of varying Ph levels to represent empty or full stomachs with positive results.

“It was a lot fun,” Arrant said. “I liked answering the judges’ questions and seeing other science projects.”

Many of UWG’s own undergraduate researchers from the College of Science and Mathematics joined in to make the program even more memorable. In a separate session, they presented their own research, providing the middle and high school students a taste of the sort of advanced opportunities awaiting them at UWG.

“It’s an important component to the day because the amount of undergraduate research you can do here is unique, even compared to some of the large universities,” Mayercik said. “Some of our students are published, and that level of research really sets UWG apart.”

Photography by Melanie Fan

Posted on March 4, 2019