By Tu Trinh
OC Science's first summer fun science night was a huge success! Many students and their friends and families came to enjoy the various activities offered, including board games and several rounds of Jeopardy.
On the night of July 16, 2016, over 50 participants--volunteers and students alike--came to the Ardent Northwood facility to enjoy a night of fun and games. There were five stations in total: index card towers, card games, Compounded, Operation, and paper chromatography. All of the kids jumped from station to station, eager to try out everything offered that night. Even some of the volunteers helping at each station found themselves eagerly playing along.
Many of the board game stations had volunteers quickly learning how to play, and then patiently explaining the process to each student who came. They were so popular that sometimes there were lines of students waiting for their turn. Everyone was extremely competitive, as shown by a young fifth-grader named Ethan. "Yes! I won! I'm going to play this game all night," he cried as he won yet another round of Compounded.
Elaine Chao, Director of General Public Outreach, was head of the creative, hands-on stations, index card towers and paper chromatography. At least twenty students were at her tables at any given moment, eagerly learning about the fun basics of chemistry and physics, then applying that knowledge to their creations. Many of the kids were so proud of what they made that they happily brought their creations home to show their family.
A special station, Jeopardy, was hosted by Neah Lekan, Vice President of Digital Marketing and Special Tasks Coordinator. He wholeheartedly guided the participants through round after round of fun science trivia questions. As expected, most of them always came back for more of the competitive fun.
No doubt many friends were made that night as the participants competed against each other to win each game, or worked together to achieve a common goal.
By Michelle Xu
The Orange County Science and Engineering Fair hosted its annual Excellence in STEM Awards and Reception at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center on June 5. The event serves to recognize the students and judges who have participated in the OC Science and Engineering Fair, as well as the students who participated in the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Art Contest.
The event started out with a welcome from OCSEF Co-President Prasanthi Sathyaprakash. She introduced the keynote speaker Dr. Katherine Mackey, who talked about her journey through STEM. Mackey described her journey as more of a “windy road” as opposed to a “straight path”. Nevertheless, she finally found her true passion in ocean research.
Sathyaprakash then welcomed eight OCSEF student participants up to the stage one by one to give presentations about their research projects. The students were sixth graders Ethan Nguyen and Emily Hsi, seventh grader Sabreen Alam, freshman Shreyas Hukkeri, sophomores Michelle Xu and juniors Emily Condon, Lauren Fieldman and Charles Noyes. Michelle Xu and Charles Noyes were participants and winners of the 2016 Intel International Science Fair hosted back in May in Phoenix, Arizona. In addition to talking about their projects, the students also talked about the obstacles they faced and gave advice to future young science researchers.
“I thought the student presenters were very good,” OCSEF board member Dr. Arnold Shugarman said. “The presentations highlighted what the students did. I especially liked the advice and suggestions they gave out. It’s much better for students to hear advice from other students than from adults because the students are all in the same boat, so it’s much more believable.”
After the students gave their presentations, the OCSEF board members gave out awards to some of the OCSEF judges that have contributed greatly to the success of the science fair. “Our judges did lots of good work,” Sathyaprakash said. “They are the people who select the right winners--they are the pillars of strength that support the fair.”
OC Science board members and sophomores Sherry Xu and Lucy Liu were then brought down to the stage to announce the winners of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Art Contest. The theme of the art contest is on Arnold Beckman’s life and his accomplishments, and students submit original artwork that is based on the theme. The art contest took a lot of effort to prepare for. Partnered with OC Arts, “we made the website and created the theme, and then we publicized this event by emailing a lot of people about this opportunity,” shares Lucy.
“My inspiration behind my art was the work that Arnold Beckman did,” second place winner in the Senior Photography Category and freshman Jenna Schindele said. “There were a lot of measurements involved, and I really liked the spirograph pattern.”
Jenna hung a flashlight from a ceiling, which created an elliptical pattern, and captured this in her masterpiece.
After the ceremony was over, students and parents crowded outside for the reception to meet the OCSEF judges, student researchers and art contest finalists. “I learned different ways to come up with scientific ideas,” said student participant Tu Trinh. “Listening to the student presentations was my favorite part.”