Piedmont Hosts Northeast Georgia Regional Science Fair This Saturday
Piedmont University will welcome more than 70 middle and high school students to its Demorest campus on Saturday, Feb. 3, as it hosts the Northeast Georgia Regional Science & Engineering Fair.
Students will set up in the Commons to present original research on questions from “What Keeps Apples from Turning Brown?” to “Is Artificial Intelligence (AI) Really Reliable?” and topics like “Assessing Heat Exposure Risks Around Athens” and “Squirrel-Proof Birdseed.”
Patrick, a student at Clarke Middle School who will present at the fair, said meeting kids from other schools is one of the best parts of attending.
“Last year, at the state fair, my project was positioned next to one by a girl from South Georgia. Her project was about blueberries, something I can say I never really think about. It turned out that her dad farms blueberries, and they are a very big deal for their family,” Patrick said. “Different lives and interests. It's fun.”
Piedmont University Professors Dr. Julia Schmitz (biology) and Dr. Deb Dooley (earth science) mentored Patrick for his seventh-grade project on measuring water quality. Schmitz invited him to an Adopt-A-Stream workshop last April and trained Patrick and other participants on how to monitor river water for bacterial contamination.
“My project on E. coli in local rivers is an application and extension of what I learned from that workshop,” Patrick said.
Schmitz is a science fair co-director for the Northeast Georgia region, which includes schools in 19 counties. Her role epitomizes how Piedmont’s Department of Natural Sciences provides and encourages advanced understanding through guided independent research, even among pre-collegiate students.
Hilsman Middle School student Lauren will present her findings about soap, a topic she felt would benefit everyone.
“I feel like soap is one of the most common and useful tools to keep ourselves healthy. Most people don't actually know what soap does for them or how it actually works,” Lauren said.
Lauren looks forward to the science fair for two reasons.
“Projects at this level are not only creative but informational, and I am looking forward to learning a lot — and I look forward to sharing these experiences with my friends.”
Many Piedmont faculty members will be among the 22 judges for the regional fair. Winning researchers will qualify for the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair, set for April 11-13 in Athens.
Along with the science fair, visitors will have time to tour the campus with current Piedmont students and eat lunch in the dining hall. Before the 2:30 p.m. awards presentation ceremony in the Swanson Center, participants may enjoy a presentation on solar eclipses by amateur astronomer and retired chemist Dr. Maurice Snook that starts at 1:30 p.m.
In addition to the top three winners, Schmitz said four special awards would be given: the Upper Oconee Watershed Network Water Champion Award, the American Chemical Society Award, the Jackson EMC & Janssen Pharmaceuticals Pinnacle Award, and the Piedmont Rising Research Award.
Piedmont University works closely with Regional Coordinator Will Dodd of the Oconee River Georgia Youth Science & Technology Centers to provide the science fair opportunity to students.
For more information about the arts and sciences at Piedmont University, visit piedmont.edu/academics/arts-sciences/.