Local students participate in science fair
The din coming from the Cleveland State University Recreation Center in mid-March was not the usual squeaking of athletic shoes on the polished wood floor. Instead, the gym was abuzz with 600 students in grades 7–12 from more than 100 public, private and parochial schools in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage and Summit counties. They were there to showcase their work at the 59th annual Northeastern Ohio Science and Engineering Fair (NEOSEF).
Presented by Cleveland State University, Cleveland Clinic and Great Lakes Science Center, NEOSEF provides an opportunity for students to discuss their work with local experts. Science fairs are not just about winning scholarship money (though prizes are motivating). Students who participate in these fairs develop skills in research and problem solving, as well as in oral and written communication.
Nancy DiIulio, president of NEOSEF, assistant dean of undergraduate studies, instructor of biology at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Heights resident, believes a good science project starts with a good question, which leads to investigations with measurable results. This year’s students asked important questions, some with broad implications. As they consider the scientific process, questions evolve into a premise that can be tested.
NEOSEF selects students to represent the region at the next levels of competition. This year, NEOSEF is sending four grand-prize winners, from grades 9 through 12, to the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair, where they will compete with 1,500 students for more than $4 million in scholarships and prizes.
Representing Beaumont School were Danielle Dejak, Katie Hankins, Maria Ianni, Jane Kim, Erika Klek, Gabriela Leskur, Anna Libertin, Grace Mascha, Leat Perez, Marija Rowane, Allison Siragusa and Johanna Tomsick. Several Cleveland Heights middle school students competed as well, including Isabel Catanzaro, Ethan Hynds, Abigal Christine Kopp, Samah Malkieh, Rachel Nowak, Grace Rossi, Anna Zaremba and Matthew Zaremba, all from the Communion of Saints.
NEOSEF is a nonprofit volunteer organization, established in 1953, whose goal is to interest young adults in science and engineering by participating in competition. Many local businesses and organizations make the competition possible. These include Adcom Communications, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland State University, Dominion, FirstEnergy Foundation, Great Lakes Science Center, Gund Foundation, John Carroll University, Lubrizol Foundation, the Plain Dealer, PolyOne Corporation, Rockwell Automation and the Sherwin-Williams Company.
Jenn Prater, a resident of Cleveland Heights and graduate of Cleveland State University, works as a research editor for a local bank.