Science Exposition draws more than 400 students to Foundation Academy
Foundation Academy hosted the annual Dr. Nelson Ying Orange County Science Exposition on Feb. 17
| 4:39 p.m. March 2, 2017
West Orange Times & Observer
WINTER GARDEN The Dr. Nelson Ying Orange County Science Exposition came to Winter Garden on Friday, Feb. 17, as more than 400 midde- and high-school students filled Foundation Academy North Campus’ gym.
About 350 projects were presented at the annual science fair representing 18 middle schools and 12 high schools from across Orange County. Students had the ability to compete in a number of different categories including animal sciences, biomedical and health sciences, microbiology, chemistry, engineering, environmental sciences and mathematical sciences.
“It’s all about giving the kids the best experience that we can,” said Walt Justice, chief judge and judging coordinator for the exposition.
Named after one of the fair’s major donors, Dr. Nelson Ying, Sr., the annual exposition is open to public schools, private schools and home-schooled students.
The quality of work produced by the students at the fair is top-notch every year with an average of two students advancing to the state competition, Justice said.
“We are seeing that the projects that we do have are high quality,” he said.
At the Ying Science Exposition, students are judged on the same standards that they would see at the state level in order to prepare them.
“What we try to do is give them an experience as close to what they would see at the state level,” Justice said.
While many of the students had participated in the expo in previous year, some of them were new to the scene.
“It’s exciting,” said Matthew Williams, a junior at Lake Nona High School. “The whole atmosphere in here is electric.”
For the students participating, the exposition was an opportunity to explore a scientific topic that piqued their interest.
After watching how quickly store-bought flowers die, seventh-grader Nicole Motilla decided to research the issue.
“My mom always bought flowers and they would always die so quickly,” said the St. John Vianney Catholic School student. “So I tried different household goods to make the flowers last longer.”
Experimenting with roses, Motilla found that a mixture of water and crushed aspirin kept the roses alive longer.
“It’s not going to help the world, but I like that it’s something simple,” she said about her experiment.
Similarly, Avalon Middle School student Faviana Vazquez centered her project around her desire to start a small herb garden at home.
“I really like plants and like working with plants, so I wanted to find a more organic option for herbicide,” said the eighth grader.
But some of the projects at the expo went beyond the basic sciences into complex realms of mathematics and biochemistry.
For Trinity Preparatory School senior Amber Yang, her presentation on space debris was a continuation of the research she’s worked on for nearly three years.
“Space debris is a huge problem,” Yang said. “I like that (my project) has real world applicability. I hope to eventually be able to apply this.”
Yang’s experiment already has caught the attention of companies like Lockheed Martin and NASA, and she plans to study theoretical astro physics in college and possibly make her research a reality.
“I’ve had so many opportunities given to me, it’s given me a lot of confidence as a girl pursuing STEM,” Yang said. “This all started in a corner of my room working on a laptop.”
A awards ceremony was held Thursday, Feb. 23 at Lake Highland Preparatory School.