By Cindy Pantea
Saturday, January 24, 2015, I had the pleasure of attending the 59th Annual Science, Math and Technology Expo (SMT Expo) at North High School. My job was as a volunteer sponsor judge tasked with picking winning projects that addressed Action Areas listed in Greenprint for Akron, a KAB facilitated program.
I worked with three outstanding individuals with different areas and levels of environmental expertise. These judges were:
- Carl Safreed, P.E., Air Pollution Control Division of the Canton City Health Department, who has also worked for the Environmental Protection Agency,
- Katie Dye of GOJO Industries, Inc., a company that was a Summit of Sustainability Awards winner in 2013 and known for their commitment to sustainability, Katie is also a KAB Board Member, and
- Kevin Lockett of Lockett Media, APS Substitute Teacher, KAB Board Member and Member of Summit of Sustainability Awards Committee
The judges were completely impressed with all the well-spoken, knowledgeable students at the SMT Expo, some of whom would get us sidetracked from time-to-time with their interesting projects that were out of our particular criteria, like “The Antibacterial Effect of Green Coconut Water,” a project by a student with the last name of Tankersley, from STEM, under the direction of Coach Hanna.
Choosing the Akron Greenprint Sponsor Winners
We were able to return to the task at hand and chose three Greenprint Akron projects winners. As it so happened, the winning projects all dealt with the combined sewer overflow issue that our Akron community has been facing.
The first place Greenprint for Akron $250 award went to Abby Strobel, 7th grade, National Inventors Hall of Fame (S.T.E.M. Learning). She developed her winning project under the supervision of Coach Justiss.
In her project, Rain, Rain, Go Away; Neighborhood Solutions for CSO Runoff, Abby designed a permeable concrete drain and gave solutions for eliminating overflow in her neighborhood. She also left a good impression on judges as she answered questions about the waterways research conducted in the city of Philadelphia and noted the fact that Toronto Canada is at least one area of the world that is way ahead in rectifying runoff issues, as they have removed downspouting and incorporated changes for effective runoff. She also was able to recognize words such as bioswales and rain gardens – words that she came across in her research.
The second place $100 Greenprint award went to Deanna Green, a Buchtel High School CLC 10th grader in Coach Grindall’s class. She won with a project entitled, Rerouting Water: A CSO Dilemma. The judges were impressed with Deanna’s pictures, which showed actual runoff, as well as her scientific experimentation and acquired knowledge. She has been interested in the CSO issue ever since meeting and learning about the dilemma from City of Akron Deputy Service Director, Phil Montgomery.
The third place $50 Akron Greenprint award went to Cyanne Dabney, also a Buchtel High School CLC 10th grader in Coach Grindall’s class. Working also in the CSO dilemma topic area, Dabney used the runoff soil to start radish seeds in her project entitled: How Fast Can a Radish Seed Grow in Polluted Soil: A CSO Dilemma. Dabney explained to judges that she would like to take the project a step further to see the radishes grow to harvest and document growth pattern.
On a side note, I had the pleasure of speaking with Coach Grindall’s assistant coach and mother, who is also a retired school teacher. She was so excited for Deanna and Cyanne and mentioned that they knew absolutely nothing about CSO runoff when they started their projects and ended up turning into CSO runoff experts.They were impressively well-versed on the subject.
Greenprint Sponsor Judges Notation
Speaking of impressive, the judges wanted to note that it wasn’t an easy decision at all to pick three winners at the SMT Expo. In fact, there were other favorites that had to do with Greenprint Action Areas in the running, and we thought you should know. These included:
- Tabitha Anderson, Firestone HS, Coach Spak, “Microbially Influenced Corrosion” – a positive, bubbly student who worked with University of Akron professors on her project, appreciating every minute of this higher learning, and looking forward to majoring in microbiology at college.
- Gabe DiFiore, National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM – MS, Coach Crews, “Water Absorption in Plants,” who put together a very impressive project that caught attention of judges.
- Jeremiah Green Lewis, Litchfield MS, Coach Greene, “Filtration Frustration,” a thoughtful, smart young man who, in his project, contaminated distilled water and then used ionization and chlorination techniques to filter the contamination and compared this with untreated distilled water. Jeremiah is interested in environmental science as well as concerned about water quality.
- Mica Heffner, Litchfield MS, Coach Greene, “Microbial Levels: Ponds vs Lakes,” who was excited to share her project, also mentioning that she learned time-management skills while doing the project, and was surprised to learn just how dirty lakes actually are.
- Grace Julien, National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM – MS, Coach Kaffen, “The Effect of Green Roofs on Interior Temperature,” another positive student who enjoyed making her green roofs and comparing them for her project.
- Maria McNutt, Litchfield MS, Coach Greene, “Litter Getter,” a bright student who knew her litter information gained by researching online and actually getting out there to compare litter in different parks around town. She definitely did a project that is close to our hearts here at KAB!
- Nathaniel Slosson, Buchtel CLC – MS, Coach Starvaggi, “Solar Panels,” who spent time researching and gaining knowledge to share with judges about solar energy.
- Selena Turner, National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM – HS, Coach Hanna, “Which type of roofing material is the most energy efficient,” who built bird houses, each one containing a different roofing material, and compared their heat and cool down times.
- Audry Wytczyoczowski and Madison Wallace, Hyre CLC, Coach Hardwick, “How does different kinds of cigarette smoke affect bean plant growth?” Both students were interested in taking this project further and seemed to really enjoy their learning process on the subject matter. They are completely against smoking as it adds negatively to air pollution.
These are still just a fraction of the well-thought-out projects from our outstanding Akron students, coached by our superior teachers and all coming together through the dedication of Dr. Katrina Halasa and an army of helpers. We invite you to check out more pictures in our album on Facebook.