Science Day

Student poses with research poster. *The accompanying photos are provided by Dr. Felicia Armstrong.

Science is bringing area students to Youngstown State University.

The Ohio Academy of Science (OAS) District 15 Lake-to-River Science day will make its way to Beeghly arena (Roselli court) on Saturday March 31, 2012. Science Day is a yearly regional event that brings hundreds of students from parochial, public, and private schools in grades 5-12 for presentations in scientific research. District 15, which includes Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning, and Trumbull Counties are just one of 16 districts that participate in the all day science fair. The accompanying photos are provided by Dr. Felicia Armstrong.

According to Stephen E. Rodabaugh, YSU’s Science Day council member and Associate Dean of the STEM College, students must adhere to strict guidelines set by the OAS. Students begin their research months in advance in one of thirteen categories and will have to log their research, create an abstract/hypothesis and complete a poster board presentation. Projects cannot be demonstrated, but students may have photos, graphs and charts that describe their work. Two judges are assigned to each project, and participants are rated on a 40-point scale. Those with a minimum score of 36 will advance to the State Science Day, held on Saturday, May 5, 2012 at The Ohio State University. Participants at this level compete for substantial prizes and scholarship dollars.

Science fairs have been on the decline across the nation, especially in District 15. However, grants awarded by Dominion Gas and General Motors have aided in bringing these events back to the schools in various ways. Due to their generosity, Rodabaugh noted that many of these funds help students with materials and in cases of need waive the $30.00 registration fee. Teachers also benefit through science workshop trainings and assistance with how to bring science fairs back to the schools. Grants received for Science Day also allow YSU STEM students to travel to participating schools as coaches, assisting with project research. Students from Trumbull County’s Neal Middle School and McGuffey Elementary, and Volney Rogers Middle School in Youngstown will represent their schools at YSU, with 20-25 students expected to participate.

Science Day is not only a day of academic enrichment, but also an opportunity to learn more about STEM at YSU. Students and their families will have time to explore YSU’s campus, and are invited to the awards ceremony that will close out the day’s festivities. Rodabaugh conveyed that Science Day is very beneficial to District 15, as well as it is “engaging students not otherwise engaged.”