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Falmouth Public Schools 46th Annual STEAM Fair Award Winners Announced

On Saturday, March 16, 2024, Falmouth Public Schools hosted the 46th Annual PreK-12 STEAM Fair, a lively celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics in the Robert V. Antonucci Field House. Students from all grade levels showcased their individual science and engineering projects, class projects, and club activities alongside community exhibits from local scientific institutions and community partners. In addition, students of all ages participated in this year’s Clipper Ship Buoyancy challenge, creating small boats to hold the greatest number of pennies. 

Volunteer judges of Grades 7-12 science projects served a critical role in the success of the Fair. Judges from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Marine Biological Laboratory, Sea Education Association, University of Chicago, Woods Hole Marine Systems, Inc., Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology critiqued and evaluated the high school projects via Zoom during the evenings of February 26 - 28. In addition, volunteer judges from these institutions, the local community, and the Falmouth High School Science National Honor Society judged Lawrence Junior High School projects in the school’s gymnasium on the morning of Tuesday, March 5, 2024. 

Students and classes were awarded over $10,000 in prizes and scholarships sponsored by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Marine Biological Laboratory, Sea Education Association, WHOI Sea Grant, Woodwell Climate Research Center, Notus Clean Energy, Cell Signaling Technology, Salt Pond Bird Area Sanctuaries, Oyster Pond Environmental Trust, Falmouth Water Stewards, Associates of Cape Cod, and the 300 Committee. 

Projects receiving distinction, scholarships, and prizes were honored at the STEAM Fair Award Ceremony at noon on Saturday, March 16. 

The Founders' Awards are awarded annually to teachers for use in their classrooms. Teachers may use the award money for science related resources or activities in which they engage their students. This year four $100 awards were sponsored by Notus Clean Energy. Four Falmouth High School teachers each received an award: Jane Baker – Art,   Michael Campbell - Computer Science, Cory Dubuque - Biology, and Heather Goodwin - Biology.

The Lawrence School students recognized with projects of honorable mention included 7th graders Logan Suttles, Nathan Courchesne, Findlay Walsh, Nathan Oliveira, Nate Birmingham, Michael Collins, Siena Redden, and Avery Spence as well as 8th graders Evelyn Shertzer, Liam Mooney, Emily Ward, Estella Harmon & Lexie Gonzales, Stephen Lewis Jr., Piper Tierney, Katherine Feronti, Natalie Allen, and Lucy McLaren.

Lawrence students recognized with Distinguished Projects each received a $20 Gift Certificate to Eight Cousins Books, sponsored by WHOI SeaGrant. Recipients of these awards included 7th graders Kate Partan, Violet Strickland, Viktor Solorzano, Evan Ramsey, Max Crawley - Johnson, Ronan Whelan, partners Freya Gillis and Akshara Rathnam, partners Delaney Marshall and Kellyn Szatkowski, and Griffin Brodeur as well as 8th graders Robert Davis, partners Natalie Kirincich and Fiona Sheehan, partners Megan Gallagher and Lauren Kendall, partners Kinsey Wankel and Ninamarie Althur, Robert Fragnito, Tilu Pandya, Violet Cox, Sadie Baldwin, Heather Crowell, and Emilia Teichberg. 

Eighth grader Veronica Vizgaitis earned the Salt Pond Area Bird Sanctuaries Junior High Award for the top Lawrence School project, a monetary award valued at $100, for Can We Kill Algae With Algae?

Each FHS third place winner received a $100 award sponsored by Notus Clean Energy. The Falmouth High School 3rd place award winners represented six projects: Collaborators Vivian Bannister and Christina Femino (Grade 12) for Rooting out Erosion, Ethan Littmann (Grade 11) for Boiling Eggs, Danielle Truax (Grade 9) for Investigating the Relationship Between Air Quality & Water pH, Collaborators Swraj Patel, Griffin Jones, and Gus Pohlman (Grade 11) for Rolly Polly Marbles, Collaborators Ben Dean and Bea Mariani (Grade 11) for Properties of Static Electricity, and Justinian Anderson (Grade 11) for The Correlation between Age and Memory.  

The 2nd place award winners included five projects:  Avery Okon (Grade 9) Water Under Pressure won the Aecern STEM Innovation Award, a monetary award valued at $100, which is given to an outstanding Freshman High School project, Jonah Goldstone (Grade 9) Food Dye Hyperactivity in Zebrafish received a $250 award from Associates of Cape Cod, Ethan Parmentier (Grade 10) Self-Sustaining Micro-Garden received a $375 award from Cell Signaling Technology, Ryan Simone (Grade 12) Hardness Hurdles and Carbonate Complexity received a $500 award from Falmouth Water Stewards, Isabella Cabral (Grade 9) Salivating for Answers: Exploring pH Differences of Canine, Feline & Human Saliva received $500 from Notus Clean Energy.

The 1st place award winners included five projects:  

Robert Simpkins (Grade 11) project, Dusty Plasma: How do charged dust particles affect the efficiency of plasma creation?  Robert was awarded $500 from the Woodwell Climate Research Center, and a $75 WHOI Gift Certificate in recognition of his honorable mention at the Massachusetts Science and Engineering Fair (MSEF) Region V. He will present again at the state level MSEF on April 5 at Gillette Stadium.

Eleanor Rosenthal (Grade 11) project The Potential of Cape Cod Seaweeds in Biofuel: What is the potential for Cape Cod seaweeds to be biofuel and what kinds of Cape Cod seaweeds produce the most ethanol? Eleanor received a $500 cash prize sponsored by Woodwell Climate Research Center and a Sea Education Association (SEA) scholarship for $7,000 towards an SEA college semester program or $2,500 towards an SEA high school program. She received a $75 WHOI Gift Shop certificate in recognition for her 3rd place award at MSEF Region V.  She will present again at the state level MSEF on April 5 at Gillette Stadium.

Collaborators Maisie Chase (Grade 10) and Celia Suttles (Grade 10) project The Impact of Invasive Phragmites on Soil, Carbon Density & Hydraulic Conductivity: Do soil, carbon density, & hydraulic conductivity differ between natural salt marshes and phragmites-dominated wetlands? Maisie and Celia were awarded $300 from the Oyster Pond Environmental Trust and $250 from the 300 Committee.  Maisie and Celia earned a 3rd place award at MSEF Region V. Each will receive a $75 WHOI Gift Shop certificate in honor of that placement.

Alison McCumber (Grade 9) project, Ocean Warming and Its Effect on Aquatic Bird Migration: How has our warming climate affected the migration patterns and timing of various aquatic bird species? Alison was awarded The Salt Pond Area Bird Sanctuaries’ Dr. Donald J. Zinn 2nd Place Award for $500 and $1,000 towards her future college/university from The Marine Biological Laboratory Dr. Arnold Clark Scholarship.

Gayatri Chaturvedi (Grade 11) project The Effects of Ocean Acidification on Seaweed Physiology: How does ocean acidification affect our seaweeds and how can we work to fix it for the future? Gayatri presented at MSEF Region V and will present again at the state level MSEF on April 5 at Gillette Stadium. She received The Salt Pond Area Bird Sanctuaries’ Dr. Donald J. Zinn 1st Place Award for $750. Gayatri was awarded $3,000 towards her future college/university from The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Dr. Mary Sears Scholarship.

This year, the community exhibitors included AmeriCorps, Associates of Cape Cod, Barnstable County Health Department, The Cape Cod Astronomical Society, The Coonamessett River Trust, Falmouth Community Television (FCTV), Falmouth Public Schools Woods Hole Partnership, Falmouth Water Stewards, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA/Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC)’s Woods Hole Science Aquarium, Oyster Pond Environmental Trust (OPET), Sea Education Association (SEA), SCUBA and Nitrox Safety International Diving School, University of Rhode Island STEEP Superfund Research Program / Silent Spring Institute, Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (WBNERR), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), WHOI Sea Grant, WHOI’s Northeast U.S. Shelf (NES) Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Data Jams with TUVA Tools/STEMming the Gaps Consulting, Woodwell Climate Research Center, and Zephyr Education Foundation.