Posted Date: 02/24/2020
BEEVILLE – Five junior high students are headed to the state science fair competition next month — a first for Beeville.
Clara Roznovsky, Tatum Willis, Liliana Martinez, Ariel Campos and Antonio Gamez have all qualified to compete at the competition at Texas A&M during the last weekend in March.
The work of these students, two from The Joe Barnhart Academy and three from Moreno Middle School, is commendable, said Ortego.
“I think they have a great chance at state,” he said. “I am not one to underestimate my students.”
Roznovsky, a Moreno student who won third in her division, is no stranger to this type of competition.
“I went to state two years ago,” she said. “I didn’t place at state then.”
Now an eighth grader, this will her last year competing in the junior high level.
“I made it to regionals last year, but we didn’t get to go,” she said. “I have qualified for regional every year since I was in fifth grade.”
Her project this year was to determine if the presense of pheromones would make much of a difference in controlling the movements of ants.
“I got the idea from a man at my church,” she said. Robert Bowling, who has his doctorate in entomology, gave her the idea.
“We were talking about the science fair, and I told him I was trying to find an idea,” she said.
By extracting the pheromones — done by soaking the ants in acetone so they release this chemical — she was better able to keep them in a confined circle.
“They naturally release pheromones when they are going along trails,” she said. “I learned a lot about pheromones while doing this project.”
Tatum Willis & Ariel Campos
Willis and Campos, both Moreno students, developed their project idea after experiencing slow wifi speeds at the school.
“We were trying to see what material would block wifi signals,” Campos said. Ultimately, the glass would block the signal more than plastic.
Willis said the project moved quickly with the experiments taking about a day, and the poster board display work taking another day.
Interestingly, the team didn’t know they won because their project wasn’t marked with a ribbon.
“We knew something was off,” Willis said. “It felt odd. Like something was wrong.”
Then the judges called their names.
Both smiled as they thought back at their excitement at winning the second place medals.
Gamez, a Barnhart student who won first place in his division, said his project came about because of soccer.
“I play soccer, and when it rains, my socks and shoes get wet,” he said. “I wanted to make something to keep my clothes from getting wet.”
He first tried a dish soap, alcohol and water as a solution, along with some other ingredients.
That didn’t work.
Finally, he stumbled on the idea of silicone and mineral spirits.
“In the beginning it caused a shift in the color of the fabric,” he said.
But that might have been a contaminate in the mixture as it seemed to dissipate.
He is the only one of five to qualify to compete at Broadcom Masters competition having scored in the top 10 percent at the science fair.
“He will compete for scholarships by doing various science challenges,” said Matt Ortego.
Beeville might be able to benefit from Martinez’s project.
Martinez, a Barnhart student taking home a first place medal in her division, wanted to find the best filter to clean water of its contaminates.
“The best filter had the activated charcoal and sand,” she said. “I think it was the activated carbon that changed the game.”
She hopes something like this, if made cheaper, would help those in Africa, but she also has a benefactor closer to home.
“I want to improve it for the people,” she said. “I wanted to make it after the past city water boils.”
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5221, or at editor@mySouTex.com