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Middle school scientists fare well at state science competition

The 57th annual Colorado Science and Engineering Fair was held April 5-7 on the CSU campus in Fort Collins.

This year, five intrepid young scientists representing sixth through eighth grades at Pagosa Springs Middle School made the journey.

Each of them earned the right to participate by placing first in their respective divisions at the regional science fair in Durango, held in March.

Examples of some of the nearly 400 projects on display were an EEG-driven prosthetic arm, genetic optimization of algae selection for use in biofuels, and proof that a circular Hopf Link is a stationary point for Mobius Energy.

Into this intellectual pressure cooker entered Tanner Schlom, an eighth grader, with his project “Cutting Edge Propulsion,” entered in the Engineering Division.

In the Environmental Sciences Division were eighth graders Molly Burkesmith, with her project, “Iffy Effluent,” and Miah Pitcher, with her project, “Challenging the Lorax: A study of Forest Health After Biomass Harvesting.”

Miah was acknowledged for her work, receiving a sponsor award (a $100 savings bond) from the Colorado-Wyoming Society of American Foresters.

In the Energy and Transportation Division were sixth-graders Keanan Anderson and Tate Hinger, with their project, “What is the Delta T of a Two Can Stirling Engine?” They finished second in their division. They also received an invitation to participate in a competition in Washington D.C. and a check for $25 each from one of the many sponsors awarding excellence in various divisions. They were the only sixth graders to receive a place award at this year’s competition.

Each of the participants wishes to thank all of their inspirational teachers, especially science teachers Tracey Schenk and J.D. Kurz, as well as the many community members that helped contribute to their success. They also wish to say that, “Science rocks!”

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