The 2018 Maine State Science Fair (MSSF) was a huge success, and the excited buzz emanating from the Thomas College gymnasium provided solid evidence for that claim. On March 24, nearly 300 Maine teens exhibited their science and engineering projects to their peers, teachers, parents, and judges. Representing 30 high schools, these students vied for nearly 100 awards including scholarships and a chance to compete in the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF). As they do every year, Watershed School participated in this 72nd annual Maine State Science Fair, bringing seven students to share their work and see what other Maine students have done.
Judges at MSSF selected the top three projects in each of 17 categories. These categories cover virtually every field in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), including computer science and the behavioral sciences. The judges, who represent colleges and universities, research institutions, and STEM businesses, use scoring rubrics to assess various parts of each project. They interview students to learn how they got the idea for their project, how they approached their research, and what they discovered while working on their projects. They also consider the quality of the students’ posters and their presentation skills.
This is the second year that colleges and universities offered scholarships to participating students. University of Maine awarded 12 full-tuition scholarships that include admission to their Honors College, an annual research stipend, and a mentor. College of the Atlantic awarded two $25,000 annual scholarships to their school in Bar Harbor. New this year, University of New England offered five $25,000 annual scholarships and University of Maine at Augusta offered two $1,500 annual scholarships. Watershed Senior Hallie Arno Macdougal received a full-tuition scholarship to the University of Maine Honors College, and Watershed Junior Alex Facq received the scholarship to College of the Atlantic.
MSSF also recognizes students with additional special awards from organizations like Intel, NASA, and Yale. A few of the awards come with cash prizes and one of them is an invitation for the students to compete in another competition called the Stockholm Junior Water Prize. Between the category awards, scholarships, and special awards, 73 students were recognized during the MSSF award ceremony. 9th grader Daniel Snider earned a third place award in the “Physics & Astronomy” category.
Visit www.maine-state-science-fair.org for more information and to find a list of this year’s winners.