by Coraline Crannell
The 26th Annual California State Science Fair took place Monday May 23th and Tuesday May 24th at the California Science Center, and SBJHS was proud to have three of their students attending for their outstanding projects. All eighth graders have to do a science project, however select students who had worked extra hard went on to the Santa Barbara County Science Fair, and then a few who won gold medals or were selected as alternates went on to the California State Science Fair. Cuyler Lusk, Lily Purvis, and Coraline Crannell all represented our school at this exciting event. Coincidentally, they were all in the same division, Junior Behavioral and Social Sciences.
941 students grades 6-12 participated in the fair, representing over 800 projects and with family members who had come along, adding up to over 2,000 people attending, and making it pretty crowded. Thankfully, everyone was spread out throughout the entire science center, so it wasn’t too hectic, although the sign-in process and finding where to put your board was a bit chaotic, as well as exiting the opening and awards ceremonies.
The fair began with signing in where they gave you a nametag and packet full of information about the fair and a list of all the projects, as well as a schedule and discounts to some local food places and to the IMAX theatre at the science center. Next all participants had to wait in a super long line to get their picture taken in a photobooth. After getting their picture, they went inside of the building, where they then had to find the paper with their board number on it and leave their board there. Since I was there a little earlier in the day, I browsed around for a while and looked at my competition before going to an IMAX movie about National Parks with another student from SBJHS. This was really cool for me because I had never been to an IMAX before or seen a screen so big. By the time the film finished, it was almost time for the real start of the fair, the opening ceremony. This welcomed everyone to the 16th annual CSSF, however the highlight of it was the guest speaker, Robert Curbeam. He is a former NASA astronaut and is currently the Vice President and Deputy of Raytheon Space Systems, and he gave a very inspirational speech about what led him to being an astronaut and how he was going to pursue a history major but how he is so glad that he did what he did and what it led him to. It was a good end to the first day of the fair!
The second day began with a student orientation for all of the participants about the rules of the fair and how they would be judged, during which volunteer category judges from numerous science companies and universities went around and looked at and assessed everyone’s boards. This featured an amazing man named Walter O’brien, champion hacker and founder and CEO of Scorpion Computer Services, Inc. He was also the inspiration for the popular tv show “Scorpion”. After this, students rushed back to their boards to be interviewed and asked questions about their project and the subject they did it on. After doing this for a few hours, there was a half an hour break for participants to rest their throats and sit down, during which all of the judges met and began to discuss all of the boards and participants in their category and which they thought were the best so far. Then it was back to judging for a few hours until free time when participants could go around museum, browse other projects, or just do whatever they liked until the awards ceremony that evening. I chose to visit the museum and was so glad that I did. It was so big and had so much stuff; I barely even ran past a quarter of it. One of my favorite things
in the museum was the Space Shuttle Endeavor that they have on display, and the tank E.T. that they have right next to it. We could see a timelapse of the space shuttle being made and launched and then see the real thing right next to it! It was so cool! Next to it was E.T., the last entire space launcher tank on Earth! These were so cool to see.
I spent the remainder of my time browsing other projects, and was astounded at what I saw. Several students had had their boards professionally done and printed so they looked extremely impressive, though I’m sure that they were also extremely expensive. Some boards were huge, where students had attached two or in some cases three different science boards to each other vertically to display more information. I couldn’t even understand just the titles for the majority of the high schoolers’ projects, and even several of the Junior Divisions’! One of my favorite projects was a 10th grader who had made a net launcher drone to catch little droids that flew over the capitol and invaded people’s privacy and stuff. This drone could launch a net to trap the drone from over 5 feet away, and then tighten the net according to how much the drone was struggling. It had several other very complicated and advanced things on it to make it do more things. The student had already signed a deal with the government and police force to sell his invention so that they could use it in their work. There were several other really cool projects like that.
Tuesday night was the awards ceremony, where four people from each category were awarded medals and money, and a few other participants were also awarded special awards. The person who won the entire Junior division’s project had to do with prosthetics and what they feel. Though nobody from SBJHS won anything, we all agree that it was an incredible experience, and I would definitely do it again.
The California State Science Fair was a super fun event that I am so glad I went to and got to experience. It was so cool seeing all of the projects and listening to the amazing speakers. This was an amazing experience that was a lot of work, however I would gladly repeat it.