Vineyard students recognized at Falmouth Academy’s 28th annual science fair

Zephyrine Thompson with judge Ian Ives, director of Mass Audubon's Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary. —Photo Courtesy of Peter Kent

Two Martha’s Vineyard students were among those receiving top honors at the 28th annual Falmouth Academy science fair on Thursday, Feb. 18. Several other Martha’s Vineyard students were recognized as well.

According to a press release, the fair, featuring 165 projects, was the culmination of five months of independent research on the part of every Falmouth Academy student in grades 7-11. They were supported and guided in their work by teachers and mentors from the local scientific community. Nearly 100 scientists, engineers, physicians, researchers and other experts — several of them Falmouth Academy alumni — served as judges.

Tenth grader Charlie Fenske of Edgartown won an Upper School first-place award, and the Marine Biological Laboratory Scholarship, for his project, “Analysis of Rocket Guidance Systems in a Wind Tunnel to Enhance Space Flight Maneuverability and Efficiency.” He also received a Robert B. Gordon Award for depth of knowledge, independence, and creativity in research.

Eighth grader Zephyrine Thompson of Vineyard Haven won a Middle School first-place award for her project, “Do Magnetic Fields Affect the Defecation Orientation of Dogs?”

Noah Glasgow, grade 7, of Chilmark, received a second-place award and a Robert B. Gordon Award for “The Digestive Rates of Various Carnivorous Plants.”

Lillian Kurelja, grade 8, of Edgartown, earned a third-place award for “Color and Concentration.”

Thea Keene, grade 8, of Chilmark, received a fourth-place award for “The Effect of Music on Memory.”

Martha’s Vineyard students receiving honorable mention were:

Samuel Graber-Hahn, grade 11, Vineyard Haven, “Does It Take Guts to Play Good Music? A Study of Musical Overtones Based on Different String Material”; James Kiric Hallahan, grade 10, Oak Bluffs, “Signature Whistle Rate Comparison between Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) Alone or in Groups”; Gedeon Pil, grade 9, Vineyard Haven, “Do Azo Food Dyes Affect Regeneration in Planarians?”; Taylor Jackson, grade 8, Vineyard Haven, “The Shock Absorbency of Different Dance Floors”; Chloe Combra, grade 7, Vineyard Haven, “A Study on the Effect of Alcohol on Daphnia magna”; Summer Riordon, grade 7, West Tisbury, “The Effect of Texting and Calling on Reaction Time.”

Special awards for Excellence in Graphic Presentation went to:

Gabriel Nadelstein, grade 10, Vineyard Haven, first place for “The Effect of Thickness and Mass on the Float Height of Pyrolytic Graphite”; Leah Littlefield, grade 9, West Tisbury, second place for “Does the Color of Light Affect Plant Growth?”

Organizations represented on the judging panel included Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole Research Center, NOAA, Sea Education Association, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Geological Survey, Cape Cod Healthcare, Visiting Nurses Association, and Mass Audubon. The judging panel also included faculty from major research universities such as Harvard, MIT, Rochester Institute of Technology, Tufts, the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale. Other judges represented area schools, colleges, municipal government, companies, and corporations.