by Matthew McCorkle and Nathaniel McCloud Staff Writer and Co-Editor-in-Chief
The Competition Science team has come away from its competition season with multiple awards. Elizabethtown's Competition Science team is a class where students learn through original research and competition. The students, who are coached by Dr. Theresa Swenson, conduct experiments and refine real-world applications for science, developing skills they can use throughout their academic and professional careers.
An aspect of the class popular with both students and Dr. Swenson is the self-direction in projects. Students have the flexibility to ask questions they have and explore topics of personal interest. In the recent North Museum Science and Engineering Fair, students showcased their original work: Jared Alvarez (10) won the category Biomedical, Health and Translational Medical Science with a project on zebrafish and Nick Sieber (12) won the category Energy: Physical for his work on an electromagnetic pulse engine. The team picked up a 3rd place from Sadie Seaman in the Plant Sciences category. Three students — Baylee Sexton (12), Brice Reiman (12), and Hannah Ruby (12) — received the honorable mention for their categories. At another contest, the regional competition for Science Olympiad, the team earned two more medals: Ruby teamed with Logan Vogelsong (11) for third in the event Microbe Mission and Sieber worked with Solen Clark (12) to win fourth in Helicopters. The team isn’t resting on its laurels though. Continuing its tradition of success — of the 7 years the team has competed, it has sent a member to theIntel International Science and Engineering Fair 4 years — requires constant goal setting. Dr. Swenson hopes to maintain similar enrollment in the course and will continue to have students pursue original research, or as she says, “No cookie cutter projects allowed.” In the long term, she hopes to get another teacher involved so that the program continues when she leaves. Students show no sign of giving up either. All are equally passionate about their research, whether it is Seaman with her observations of plant communication or Ethan Shumaker’s (11) Tetris-based evaluations of the connection between glucose and mental exertion. Not only does the club provide students with an environment to pursue interests with like-minded peers, Competition Science helps them develop the skills that help them thrive in their core science classes and future lab research.