Science fair participate advises: ‘keep experimenting’

Full list of winners follows stories

Rafael Ricciardi

Rafael Ricciardi

Sonia Flores with Kelsie Clifton, Multi-Media Reporter and Features Writer and Columnist

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Sonia Flores

Heather Morales (left) stands with her daughter, third-grade Science Fair entrant Erica Morales.

On Saturday, March 4, The Permian Basin Regional Science Fair was conducted at the UTPB Gymnasium. Parents, grandparents, teachers, and students were in attendance and excitedly supported the students as they showcased their experiments. The event started at 8 a.m. when students set up their exhibits after they were given the green light to do so. About an hour later judging began. At this time only students, judges, and officials were allowed to be present. Judging lasted approximately two hours.

Stephanie Laplante, a Science Teacher at Goliad Elementary at Big Spring, Texas excitedly waited for the judging to conclude.  She said of the Science Fair, “the experience has been a lot of fun. I hope to be a part of the next Science Fair” she said. She added that she wanted this event to send a positive message to the students and her own personal message to them is to “keep experimenting.”

At noon all attendees were given a lunch break which lasted a little over an hour. After they returned from the lunch break they were able to view the names of the winners which were posted in the wall to the right of the gym entrance. Students and those who accompanied them nervously looked for their names to see if they had placed.

Erica Morales, a third-grade student who was accompanied by her mother Heather Morales, explained her experiment and her experience at the Science Fair. “It went pretty well, I was having a lot of fun while all the judges were asking us questions. I really enjoyed doing my experiment. It was about the impact of (carbonated soft drinks) on bones, she said. Morales added that although she did not place, she felt that everyone who attended was a winner, “We’re all winners because we all came here.”

After students and guardians took their last looks at the lists everyone moved to the Multi-Purpose Room (MPR) where the Awards Ceremony took place. All judges were introduced to the large crowd which completely filled up the MPR. Several students were called to receive their awards and smiled big as they accepted them. Overall The Permian Basin Regional Science Fair was a great success as it gave a platform to all students who brought a unique and creative experiment they prepared for the Science Fair

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Dr. Douglas Young, Senior Lecturer in Physics and Permian Basin Science & Engineering Fair Director, recruited judges and volunteers for the regional Science Fair hosted by UTPB. The fair was March 4 and judging ran from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

This was Young’s fourth year as the Permian Basin Regional Science Fair director and he has served off and on as a judge for several years. A few years back he also had the opportunity to mentor a student on a project and to this day that mentoring experience is one of the things that he is the proudest of.

The professor shared with us that the Science Fair is the culmination of work done by students over a period of time. Some take only a few days and others several months. Students start with a hypothesis, design and carry out an experiment to test their hypothesis and present the results of their experiment at the Science Fair.

“Students create a board with various text pages, pictures, and graphs illustrating their hypothesis and experiments. During the fair, students present their results to judges. These judges select the best projects out of a group or category as we call it. The boards the students created are available to view by the public between 11:30 and 1:30 in the UTPB gym. Students will not be present when the projects are open to the public, but people can get a good idea of what the students did by looking at their boards,” Young stated.

The students who competed ranged from grades three through twelve and Dr. Young said that they are just as inventive as the junior and senior’s division student. UTPB students do not help those competing with their actual project but he does believe that would be a good idea.

“The main difference between the two is the quality of work done. Junior and Senior division projects tend to be more thorough than elementary division projects. Some students get help from members of the community, but most are done on their own. I would love to see some of the student organizations get involved with mentoring students on their projects,” he informed. Young believes that participating in the Science Fair gives younger students the chance to actually do science and the judging process mimics the poster sessions done in professional scientific and engineering conferences.

“In school, we teach the scientific method, and students see the results of the application of the method. Science fair allows students to apply the scientific method to problems they are interested in,” Young said. “It also gives students experience sharing their work with others. In graduate school, when I did my first poster sessions, I remember thinking how much it reminded me of when I presented my science fair project when I was in school.”


The winners list follows:

Senior Division/Overall

3rd Vivienne Dragun (Midland)

2nd Place/Alternate Winner:  Roarke Zimmer (Alpine)

1st Place/Overall Winner:  Matthew Trees (San Angelo), Garrett Guerrero (San Angelo) [Team Project] Special Awards

American Psychological Association Award Faith Thurman (Monahans) ASM Materials Education Foundation Award Emory Goldapp (Midland) Association for Women Geoscientists Award

Grace Herrera (Odessa)

Stockholm Junior Water Prize

Sarah Capule (Midland), Andrea Duncan (Monahans), Hannah Hawthorne (Monahans)

US Metric Association Award Madison Peck (Odessa) Yale Science & Engineering Award

Tristin Zimmer (Alpine)

Intermediate Division

Animal Sciences

3rd  Alexandria Boss (Midland)

2nd  Sarah Wiedeman (Midland) 1st  Avery LaCroix (Midland)

Behavioral and Social Science

3rd Evany Saenz (Monahans)

2nd Faith Thurman (Monahans)

1st Brooklyn     Kesey (Monahans)


1st Ian Shannon (Midland)

Biomedical & Health Sciences

3rd Kenzie Valenzuela (Pecos)

2nd Dane Rundgren (Midland) 1st Ezaiah Cisneros (Odessa)

Cellular and Molecular Biology

1st  Josiah Ray (Monahans)


3rd  Alexander Sombero (Pecos)

2nd Katlynn Nevil (Odessa)

1st Ismael Castillo (Big Spring)

Computational Biology and Bioinformatics 1st Kryslynn McBride (Midland) Earth & Environmental Sciences

3rd  Brant Morgan (Midland)

2nd Fred Mioduchowski (Midland)

1st Zoe Curry (Odessa)

Energy: Chemical

3rd Noah Talbert (Odessa)

2nd Ethan Hedges (Midland)

1st Madelynne Battershell (Odessa)

Energy: Physical

3rd Nino Alvarado (Midland)

2nd Alyssa Luna (Midland)

1st Gissele Holguin (Big Spring)

Engineering Mechanics

3rd Will Aston (Midland), Angelina Ramsdale (Alpine)

2nd Fisher Boone (Monahans) 1st Allison Barnes (Odessa)

Environmental Engineering

2nd Sarah Capule (Midland)

1st Braden Baylor (Midland)

Materials Science

3rd Jaida Wilson (Odessa)

2nd Parke Swallow (Midland)

1st Jacob Willoughby (Midland)


3rd Simi Stilwell (Midland)

2nd Cameron Scott (Midland) 1st Adeline Evans (Pecos)

Physics and Astronomy

3rd  Luke Williams (Odessa), Michael Mangan (Midland)

2nd Ethan Cress (Odessa), Isaac Arellano (Midland)

1st Gabriel Haley (Odessa)

Plant Sciences

3rd Hannah Douglas (Odessa)

2nd Anneke Anderson (Midland) 1st Jonathan Mendoza (Odessa)

Robotics & Intelligent Machines

2nd Alex Nunez (Odessa)

1st Hagen Haskell (Midland)

  3  rd Grade

Behavioral/Social Science

3rd Paisley Osborn (Big Springs)

2nd Raquel Lapp (Midland)

1st Milly Owens (Big Springs)


3rd McKyna     Pulley (Midland)

2nd Reese Wood (Midland) 1st Olivia Lee (Midland)

Earth/Space Science

3rd Kylee    Stanaland (Odessa)

2nd Julie     Moseley (Odessa)

1st Noah     Lopez (Midland)

  En gineering

3rd Brinlee Connel (Midland)

2nd Mary    Brown (Midland)

1st Shijay Sivakumar (Odessa)

Life Science

3rd Peyton Moore (Stanton)

2nd Ryann Stroud (Midland)

1st Keil Mioduchowski (Midland)


3rd Dominick Rawls (Big Spring), Jaxyn   Droemer (Midland)

2nd Morgan Crow (Odessa)

1st Walter Guerrero (Midland)

  4  th Grade

Behavioral/Social Science

3rd Sonny Salaz (Odessa)

2nd Ava Aston (Midland), Hatfield Cason (Alpine)

1st Christelle    Katada (Midland)


3rd Kip Cohlmia (Midland)

2nd Mia Chavez (Odessa), Nathaniel Menchaca (Midland)

1st Avery    Smith (Odessa)

Earth/Space Science

3rd Aiden   Stone (Stanton), Thomas “Quin”  Curry (Odessa)

2nd BransenPorras (Monahans)

1st Liliana Anderson (Big Springs)


3rd Cole Clary (Midland)

2nd Ryan Rowzee (Midland)

1st Olivia Fulbright (Odessa)

Life Science

3rd Morgan Eddy (Alpine)

2nd Cash Sullivan (Alpine)

1st Emilie Vanderford (Odessa), Lauren Blaylock (Midland)


3rd James Fine (Midland)

2nd Connor Kondratick (Midland)

1st Aaron Stubbs (Midland)

  5  th Grade

Behavioral/Social Science

3rd Liam O’Daniel (Odessa)

2nd Madeline Taylor (Pecos)

1st Camden Foreman (Midland), Bailey Wight (Odessa)


3rd Zachary Giba (Odessa)

2nd McKenzie Butler (Midland)

1st Taylor Weaver (Odessa)

Earth/Space Science

3rd Dominik Jordan (Odessa)

2nd Nicholas Spangher (Midland)

1st Jared Gonzalez (Odessa)


3rd Sarina Templeton (Odessa)

2nd Mason Daehling (Midland)

1st Lillian Lujan (Midland)

Life Science

3rd Drew Martin (Midland), Haley LaShomb (Odessa)

2nd Anika Gundlapalli (Odessa), Jase Contreras (Odessa)

1st Emily Simpson (Odessa), Riley Mabry (Stanton)


3rd Maximiliano Gutierrez (Odessa)

2nd Julia Brown (Midland), Julio Pena (Odessa)

1st Jace Cohlmia (Midland)

6th Grade

3rd Abby Mills (Odessa)

2nd Fernando Pando (Midland)

1st Elizabeth Sites (Midland)

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Science fair participate advises: ‘keep experimenting’