The stage was set for the sophomore researchers as they present their projects for all of the research students to see.
Sophomore researchers were brought to the present on May 24 for the annual science fair. Coordinated by Mr. Glenn Elert, the presenters each had a project that research teachers Ms. Shaniece Mosley and Ms. Stacy Goldstein.
They have been conducting experiments, collecting and analyzing data, and practicing their speaking skills in preparation for the fair.
"The science fair is always exciting for both the presenters and the judges," said Mr. Elert. "Each year, we always have our special judges which consist of alumni who come back to judge again and be a part of the science fair."
Before the event, Mr. Elert held a short speech guiding all the judges. With 110 judges in all, they consisted of junior, senior, and alumni researchers.
"For me last year, getting judged by upperclassmen was a bit nerve-wracking," said Saba Iqbal '18. "This year, I want to be sure I make the students as comfortable as possible when presenting to me."
To score the presenters, the judges each watch three sophomores present their project. Then, on a paper with categories including the poster board, methods, introduction of the project, and total analysis, the judges give the presenters scores on a scale of 1–10. Then, they add up the individual category scores. The winners of the projects include first place, second place, third place, and honorary mentions.
Vladimir Svidruk '19 presented his project on cockroaches and their tolerance to certain environments.
"I bought my cockroaches from a petshop and then tested them with certain materials." said Svidruk. "Ms. Goldstein heavily prepared us for the event, she provided us with the necessary materials that were needed for some projects, including mine."
After doing many presentations during research classes, Kenny Pierre Louis '19 shared Svidruk's thoughts.
"After doing many presentations with [Mr. K and Ms. Mosley] it really positively affected how I presented in front of the judges."
In preparing for the science fair, some of the presenters gained more than just a new science idea.
"In doing this project, I learned a lot about presentation and being able to speak to an audience effectively." said Pierre Louis It took a lot of time making, ordering, and setting up, time management was something I really got from doing the science fair."
Svidruk also admitted that it not only allowed him to gain experience in presenting, but it showed him more into the science field.
"I wouldn't consider myself as a very science type of person, but after doing this it was kind of interesting finding out about spikes and neurons and how they all relate to us humans as well," said Svidruk.
The judges and presenters were all given food afterwards, coordinated by Mr. Tovia Rosenfeld, which consisted of sandwiches, salads, desserts, and drinks. During this time, the judges and presenters gathered with their friends and some seniors spoke about how they may not be able to see all this next year.
"The science fair has always been something that was so much fun to do," said Hufsa Tasnim '17. "It gets me really upset that I may not be able to see all this next year, I will try my best to become a guest judge."
Midwood has been holding the event since the school opened in the 1940s.
Vincent Wang '18 said, "It feels weird being on the other end now, judging these sophomores makes myself proud on how far I've achieved within the research program and that I haven't gave up that drive I had as a sophomore last year."
Juniors had been assigned three to four projects to judge and graded them on a system of 60 points for idividual projects and 70 points for team projects.
Nimrah Naseer '19 said, "This [project] was really stressful for me, I like the writing aspect of science research but the actual hands on activities aren't my favorite part."
The science fair started after tenth period, judging started as the sophomores finalized their boards. After most juniors were done judging the projects and grading them on a rubric, the fair ended off with food being served for all.
Written by Sumaya Ahmed & Ashley Masih (Class of 2018).
This article originally appeared in the June 2017 edition of Argus.