Posted by: arbeam | April 23, 2014

Navy League Presents Awards at State Science Fair

Members of the Bremerton/Olympic Peninsula Council of the Navy League of the United States who volunteered as judges for the 2014 Washington State Science and Engineering Fair gather group photo. Back left to right: Warren Giss (guest), Bob Satterthwaite, Helen Miller, Dave Ellingson, Lauren Lomax, Carolyn Dankers, Bob Lamb, and Lewis. Front to right: Kevin Torcolini and Louis Mejia.

Members of the Bremerton/Olympic Peninsula Council of the Navy League of the United States who volunteered as judges for the 2014 Washington State Science and Engineering Fair gather group photo. Back left to right: Warren Giss (guest), Bob Satterthwaite, Helen Miller, Dave Ellingson, Lauren Lomax, Carolyn Dankers, Bob Lamb, and Lewis. Front to right: Kevin Torcolini and Louis Mejia.

Bremerton, Washington. The Bremerton/Olympic Peninsula Council of the Navy League of the United States (NLUS) presented cash awards and certificates to six students this month at the 2014 Washington State Science and Engineering Fair (WSSEF) held at Bremerton High School. As part of the Council’s initiatives in supporting youth interest in Science, Engineering, Technology, and Mathematics (STEM), ten Council volunteers were on hand to judge for basic fair awards, judge for the Navy League awards, and present their awards to the winners at the awards ceremonies.

Caption: Kevin Torcolini, Board Member of the Navy League of the United States Bremerton/Olympic Peninsula Council, presents cash awards and certificates to winning students in Grades 1-6 at the 2014 Washington State Science and Engineering Fair. Winners in this age group (foreground left to right) were K. Urrutia from View Ridge Elementary School in Bremerton, WA, A. Velmurugan from Julia Butler Hansen Elementary School in Olympia, WA, A. Nesnadny from Saint Paul's Academy in Bellingham, WA, and M. Hillier from Puesta del Sol Elementary School in Bellevue, WA.

Caption: Kevin Torcolini, Board Member of the Navy League of the United States Bremerton/Olympic Peninsula Council, presents cash awards and certificates to winning students in Grades 1-6 at the 2014 Washington State Science and Engineering Fair. Winners in this age group (foreground left to right) were K. Urrutia from View Ridge Elementary School in Bremerton, WA, A. Velmurugan from Julia Butler Hansen Elementary School in Olympia, WA, A. Nesnadny from Saint Paul’s Academy in Bellingham, WA, and M. Hillier from Puesta del Sol Elementary School in Bellevue, WA.

The awards were given to those students whose projects best contributed to the advancement of science, engineering, or technology in support of our nation’s Sea Services (Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine). Two awards were presented each in Grade groups 1-3 and Grades 4-6. One award was also given to each in Grade groups 7-8 and Grades 9-12.

This year’s 57th annual WSSEF featured over 500 students from over 120 schools from across the state presenting their projects. Up to $1.8M in scholarships and awards was available to participating students, as well as the potential to advance to higher levels of competition within the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) system.

Several of the scholarships were major annual stipends to attend specific colleges or universities, including Seattle Pacific University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Whitman College, and Evergreen State College. Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent welcomed students and parents at both awards ceremonies (Grades 1-6, then Grades 7-12) on the second night of the fair. “Events such as this fair are very important in encouraging academic improvement in our schools and getting kids excited about science and engineering. Right here at Bremerton High School, we’re seeing our best graduation rate since the 1970’s–now 84% and several points above the state average—an achievement 40 years in the making.”

Navy League Judges Tex Lewis (with hat) and Louis Mejia listen to third grader A. Nesnadny explain his project "How Far Will it Fly?" Nesnadny was one of the Navy League Award recipients in the Grade 1-3 age group.

Navy League Judges Tex Lewis (with hat) and Louis Mejia listen to third grader A. Nesnadny explain his project “How Far Will it Fly?” Nesnadny was one of the Navy League Award recipients in the Grade 1-3 age group.

Grades 1-3 Navy League Award recipients were: A. Nesnadny from Saint Paul’s Academy in Bellingham, WA for “How Far Will It Fly?” about drag forces on paper airplanes, and A. Velmurugan from Julia Butler Hansen Elementary School in Olympia, WA for “Hot, Hot, Super-Hot” about heat conduction. “What a joy to be with so many talented and dedicated young people who represent the top students across the State of Washington,” said Council Board Member and Area President, Carolyn Dankers. “Their fine work represents what happens when parents, teachers and the community work together to inspire and encourage young people to achieve. Students not only displayed understanding of their projects, but also were fine ambassadors for their generation. They were poised and articulate, and most were really excited about what they had been able to accomplish.”

Navy League Judges Bob Lamb and Lauren Lomax listen to fourth grader M. Hillier explain her DC Motor project project. Hillier was one of the Navy League Award recipients in the Grade 4-6 age group.

Navy League Judges Bob Lamb and Lauren Lomax listen to fourth grader M. Hillier explain her DC Motor project project. Hillier was one of the Navy League Award recipients in the Grade 4-6 age group.

Grades 4-6 Navy League Award recipients were: K. Urrutia from View Ridge Elementary School in Bremerton, WA for “Does Temperature Affect Battery Life?,” and M. Hillier from Puesta del Sol Elementary School in Bellevue, WA for “DC Motor,” where she built her own working motor and tested several motor laws, including Fleming’s left hand rule.”

Navy Leaguer Lauren Lomax came away from her experience as a judge inspired by the drive and ingenuity of the young participants, especially fourth grader Hillier and her working DC Motor. “The level of comprehension by the students was absolutely remarkable! I look forward to what these bright young minds will offer our state and community in the future.”

The Grades 7-8 Navy League Award recipient was A. Hillier from Tillicum Middle School in Bellevue, WA for “Phased Array Beam Steering.” Council Board Member Bob Lamb was initially skeptical and only begrudgingly agreed to judge. But he later recanted after seeing Hillier’s Phased Array Beam Steering project. Like Lamb himself, the elder Hillier is also a ham radio aficionado. “I personally was not looking forward to it…but I could not have been more wrong. The two days were extremely exciting and rewarding. The exceptional presentations we were favored to see, and the excitement and knowledge of the outstanding young folks, were an experience one has to cherish. I went home tonight dead tired–but the gratifying type of tired that one seldom experiences.”

The Grades 9-12 Navy League Award recipient was S. Shutthanandan from Richland High School in Richland, WA for “Next Generation Supercapacitor for Ultra-Fast Energy Harvesting.” Navy League judge Helen Miller was simply overwhelmed by the experience. “The experience exceeded all my expectations. I was amazed by the evident raw talent and the brilliant young minds, some as young as eight years of age whom we were privileged to interview, half a dozen of these students with whom we interfaced will undoubtedly be the Wernher Von Brauns or Stephen Hawkings of tomorrow. America’s future somehow appears brighter after spending two days with some of the brightest and the best.”

The WSSEF was started by the Bremerton Council of the Parent’s Teacher’s Association with an original budget of $25, and has been held in Kitsap Country all but one year since inception. Before Bremerton High School, the fair was more recently held at Olympic College. Student participation has doubled in just the past decade from just over 200 projects in 2003, to over 500 this year.

Dankers also praised the work of the current WSSEF Board and volunteers, especially Dr. Michael Huey, Head Judge since 1996 and WSSEF Board President, and Caroline Stein, Treasurer and Sponsorship Coordinator. “The organizers of the State Fair deserve special commendation for their excellent planning and dedication. We are fortunate to be able to host the State Science Fair in Kitsap County each year and bring this many students and their families to an area that they might not otherwise ever see.”

Parents of WSSEF students are also appreciative of the opportunity the fair provides their kids, as well as the engagement by volunteer judges. According to a WSSEF flyer, one parent had this to say about her child’s experience, “He worked so hard on his school Science Project and his participation in the Fair was a bit of a whim. We had no idea what he was getting into. But, we had a sense that one who works hard on something should share their results; and in so doing he was rewarded–rewarded mostly by having people who care and really listen to what he did, inquire more deeply and ask probing questions. The judges, the fair-goers and the other scientists!!! Thank you so much for such a positive experience.”

Stein thanked the Navy League for their participation. “Having individuals from our sponsoring organizations actually attend and participate in the fair, especially as judges, significantly enhances the experience for our students. They are all so excited about their projects and are thrilled to have an attentive adult to listen to them explain their work.

Navy League judges all attending in Navy League shirts was a nice touch that helped the students understand to whom they were talking and demonstrated a sincere interest in supporting the fair.” Given the value of the prize monies offered and the significance of the awards to a child’s career choice and aspirations, Dr. Huey implemented several judging techniques to help maximize objectivity and consistency. For example, projects are judged using a detailed attribute sheet by two or more judges, students’ names and sponsoring schools are hidden from judges during judging, different attribute sheets are used for science and engineering projects, all judges are given an opportunity to examine all projects in the age group before judging their assigned projects (to standardize expectations), all projects in grades 9 through 12 are grouped within one of 17 topical areas instead of grade, and a weighting scale is applied for different age groups.

-Kevin Torcolini

 

 

 

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