Over 300 Chester County Students participate in annual Science Research Competition

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Volunteer judges interviewing middle school student in Tuesday’s Dr. Lucy Balian Rorke-Adams Fair.

Young scientists from all over Chester County gathered at the Parkesburg Point Youth Center in Parkesburg to show off their passion for science. This year, over 300 students from nearly 60 schools attended the Chester County Science Research Competition (CCSRC). The competition featured 15 different categories from botany to chemistry, earth and space, zoology and more.

The Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) was once again able to partner with The Parkesburg Point, which hosted the science fair for two full days. The Dr. Lucy Balian Rorke-Adams Fair is for students in grades 6-12, while the Dr. Jonas Salk Fair is for students in grades 4-5.

The competition was held on March 7 (Rorke-Adams Fair) and March 8 (Salk Fair) and was sponsored by The Children’s Fund of Chester County, CCRES, Herr’s, STEM Wizard and West Pharmaceutical Services.

During the 2023 CCSRC, students showcased months of research and also had the opportunity to present their findings to volunteer judges. After previewing student projects beforehand, judges met with student researchers to ask them interview questions. The judges then deliberated in category-based groups and provided students with valuable feedback.

“I am blown away by all of the students throughout Chester County who have participated and to see their love for science,” expressed an Octorara mother of three, whose students participated in this year’s competition.

The event also included open houses during the evening of both fairs, where students had the opportunity to show off their projects while their families browsed other students’ work across Chester County.

During the Salk Fair open house, students who placed in each of the 15 categories received their awards while accompanied by their family and friends.

When asked how it felt to place first in his category, Uwchlan Hills Elementary School student Jacob Vandermeulen answered, “This is the best day of my life!” Vandermeulen also received the third-place award for Best of Fair.

“I took different solutes or materials and put them into different solutions mixed with water to see how the materials affected the evaporation rate,” said Vandermeulen, as he explained his project titled How Does Concentration Affect Evaporation Rate.

Tyson Kolle, a first year CCSRC competitor from French Creek Elementary School, placed second in the biochemistry category with his project, Egg’cellent Drink Choices. When asked what advice Kolle would give to future CCSRC participants, he said “Think outside the box and challenge your knowledge of science.”

Of the 156 projects entered in the Rorke-Adams Fair, 97 met the judges’ criteria of a “winning” project. The Awards Ceremony for the Rorke-Adams Fair (grades 6-12) will be held on March 22. High school students who placed first, second, or third in their category and middle school students who placed first or second will advance to the Delaware Valley Science Fairs (DVSF) held during the first week of April.

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