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Eden Campbell

More than 250 students from 65 Suffolk County schools entered science projects in the 2024 Elementary School Science Fair hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory on June 8.

Students used the scientific method to explore all kinds of questions about their favorite things and the world around them. The annual fair organized by Brookhaven Lab’s Office of Educational Programs celebrated and showcased all projects submitted, ranging from finding the best detangler for Barbie dolls’ hair to using a hand-crafted wind tunnel to test wing shapes for the best lift.

“Our judges enjoyed reading through the projects and were impressed with questions, ideas, and designs,” Amanda Horn, a Brookhaven Lab administrator who coordinated the science fair, said before announcing the winning projects. “We certainly have some future scientists and engineers here today.”

Local teachers and Lab staff volunteered as judges to pick the top spots and honorable mentions for each grade level, from kindergarten to sixth grade. The competition also included a Judges’ Choice award for creative questions.

Students who earned first place in their grade level received medals and ribbons, along with banners to hang at their school to recognize the achievement. All participants received a ribbon in recognition of having won their grade level competition at their school.

Science Fair awards

The following students earned first place in their grade level: 

◆ Kindergartener Eden Campbell, Ocean Avenue Elementary School in Northport for “Tasting Color.” Eden’s project explored whether the color of food affects its taste. What was her favorite part of the experiment? “Eating the jellybeans,” she said.

◆ First grader Milan Patel, Ocean Avenue Elementary School in Northport for “How Does the Direction of a House Affect the Amount of Heat Absorbed from the Sun?” 

◆ Second grader Advika Arun, Bretton Woods Elementary School in Hauppauge, for “Slower and Steadier the Safer it Will Be.” For her experiment, Advika crafted small parachutes to test which materials fostered a slow and safe landing. She found that nylon worked the best. “I liked the part where we dropped them and we saw the speed they went,” she said. She added of her first-place win, “I’m really excited!”

◆ Third grader Isla Cone, Love of Learning Montessori School in Centerport, for “The Impact of pH on Boba.” Isla tested food-friendly liquids with different pH levels to find out which could form boba, the round and chewy pearls found in bubble tea. She confirmed that boba spheres occurred in liquids with a pH between 4 and 10. “I wanted to do a project that was related to food,” she said. “My favorite part was getting to eat all the stuff!”

◆ Fourth grader Jude Roseto, Cutchogue East Elementary School in Cutchogue, for “Rise of the Machines: AI vs. Human Creativity Writing.” 

◆ Fifth grader Luke Dinsman, Northport Middle School in Northport, for “Maximizing Moisture — Nature Knows Best.” In his project, Dinsman found that homemade, natural moisturizers worked better than store-bought lotions at treating the dry skin he experiences as a swimmer. A shea body butter with beeswax turned out to be the best option. Making the lotions and testing them was the best part of the process, Luke said. He added, “It’s just a really cool project.”

◆ Sixth grader Owen Stone, East Quogue Elementary in East Quogue for “Can Common Foods Help Grow Potatoes?” 

Judges’ choice

Kindergarten: John Jantzen, Sunrise Drive Elementary School in Sayville

First Grade: Julianna Zick, West Middle Island Elementary School in Middle Island

Second Grade: Timothy Donoghue, Riley Avenue Elementary School in Calverton

Third Grade: Charlotte Sheahan, Pulaski Road School in East Northport

Fourth Grade: Dominick Padolecchia, Sunrise Drive Elementary School in Sayville

Fifth Grade: Isabella Maharlouei, Raynor Country Day School in Speonk

Sixth Grade: Zoe Wood, Northport Middle School in Northport

Honorable mentions

Kindergarten: Michael McCarthy, Pines Elementary School in Smithtown; Scarlett Luna, Hampton Bays Elementary School in Hampton Bays; Autumn Vlacci, Riley Avenue Elementary School in Calverton

First Grade: Tyler Paino, Bretton Woods Elementary School in Hauppauge; Logan Pierre, Brookhaven Elementary School in Brookhaven; Nora Boecherer, Edna Louise Spear Elementary School in Port Jefferson

Second Grade: Charlotte Tholl, Forest Brook Elementary School; Gabi Opisso, Cutchogue East Elementary School in Cutchogue; Matthew Ingram, Ocean Avenue Elementary School in Northport; Erios Pikramenos, Frank J. Carasiti Elementary School in Rocky Point; Maya Salman, Edna Louise Spear Elementary School in Port Jefferson

Third Grade: Emma Puccio Edelman, Hiawatha Elementary School in Lake Ronkonkoma; Vincent Calvanese, Pines Elementary School in Smithtown; Kaylee Krawchuck, Ridge Elementary School in Ridge; Isabella Guldi, Joseph A. Edgar Intermediate School in Rocky Point

Fourth Grade: Juliam Gianmugnai, Ridge Elementary School in Ridge; Joseph Frederick, Lincoln Avenue Elementary School in Sayville; Gabriel Affatato, Pulaski Road School East Northport; Levi Beaver, Raynor Country Day School in Speonk

Fifth Grade: Evangeline Jamros, Edna Louise Spear Elementary in Port Jefferson; Colette Breig, RJO Intermediate School in Kings Park; Riona Mittal, Bretton Woods Elementary School in Hauppauge

Sixth Grade: Eamon Ryan, Lindenhurst Middle School in Lindenhurst; Michael Mineo, Silas Wood 6th Grade Center in Huntington Station; Alex Uihlein, Montauk Public School in Montauk.

Science Fair Expo

While their projects were on display, students and their families browsed a Science Fair Expo that featured up-close, hands-on demonstrations guided by Brookhaven Lab staff, interns, and volunteers.

The activities connected to science concepts and tools found across the Lab, from magnets and particle accelerators to electron microscopy and conductors. Students peered through microscopes, learned how fuel cells and solar panels work, became junior beamline operators, and more.