The 2020 Scioto County Science Day was regrettably cancelled due to the spread of illness in schools, resulting in high absenteeism. However, this setback did not stop the ESC from doing its part to ensure local students got their work recognized by helping them move forward to District and State Science Day.
The ESC offered to pay the District Science Day registration fees for any student who had registered and qualified for the county event. Twelve students accepted that offer and performed remarkably at District, resulting in nine Scioto County students moving on to State Science Day.
Those nine students are Barrett VanSickle of Minford (First Place - Believe in Ohio STEM Entrepreneurship Award - $200 and entry into Believe in Ohio Regionals), Briar VanSickle of Minford (Honorable Mention - Geological Award - $50), Lorelei Martin of Minford, Rohit Kataria of Wheelersburg (First Place - Statistical Analysis Award – book and certificate), Serena Kataria of Wheelersburg (First Place - Behavioral Science Award - $150, Ohio Northern University Scholarship - $2,000 renewable up to three additional years, and Second Place - Future Physician-Scientist Award - $250), Nathan Canter of Valley (Dr. Lynn E. Elfner Young Scientist Award- $100), Luke Fleeman of Valley (Dr. Lynn E. Elfner Young Scientist Award- $100), Addison Mullins of Wheelersburg (Third Place - Governor’s Award for Excellence in Environmental Protection Research - $100, Geological Award - Certificate), and Viv Wheeler of Notre Dame.
“We were really disappointed for the students when we had to cancel County Science Day, but I’m very proud of those who persevered by participating in District and State Science Day. Our Scioto County students performed amazingly well and they have every reason to be proud of themselves,” said South Central Ohio ESC Gifted Services Coordinator Sharee Price.
Like most events this year, the 72nd Annual District and State Science Days looked a little different than it has in years past. Instead of an in-person fair, the Ohio Academy of Science hosted virtual District and State Science Days. Students uploaded their research papers, photos, and a video of their project for judges to review online.
“It was kind of like flying the plane while we were still building it,” said Mike Woytek, Executive Director of the Ohio Academy of Science. “I think judges had the opportunity in this online format to be more deliberate and spend more time on their comments. We were expecting judges to spend 25 minutes on each project, and they spent probably twice as long on that because they had the opportunity to do so.”
Of the nine students from Scioto County who progressed to State Science Day, six (Martin, Rohit Kataria, Serena Kataria, Canter, Fleeman, and Barrett VanSickle) received Superior ratings, and the other three (Wheeler, Mullins, and Briar VanSickle) were rated Excellent. Between them, they received nine awards or scholarships, as well as a four-year awardee designation (Wheeler), a five-year awardee designation (Serena Kataria), and one of only three seven-year awardee designations in the state (Rohit Kataria).
“It’s crazy. I never thought when I started doing science fairs in the first or second grade that I would end up doing that throughout my high school career, and that I would end up getting to state seven times. But each time coming back I’ve learned so much from the years before it and it’s so cool looking back and seeing all the other projects and how to improve on my own,” said Rohit Kataria, a graduating senior from Wheelersburg High School.
For more information about the South Central Ohio ESC, visit online at www.scoesc.org, or follow on Facebook and Twitter.