Illinois State Junior Science Fair
Randy Vanderwerf, Committee Chair
The Science Fair sub-committee of
the Outreach Committee had an enjoyable day at the Illinois Junior Academy of
Sciences State Science Fair held on Saturday, May 4th at Assembly
Hall in Champaign. Our judges watched junior
high and high school students present their projects which focused on issues important
to our drinking water industry. This
year, we selected five outstanding projects – two in junior high and three from
One of our junior high winners was
7th grader Annelise Goldman from the Science and Arts Academy in Des
Plaines for her project "Got Clean Water?”
She tested various water purification methods to see which was most
effective in removing bacteria, nitrates and turbidity. Purification methods tested included solar
water disinfection, sand and activated carbon.
Our other junior high winner was another
7th grader, Cameron Pedersen, who is from St. Mary School in DeKalb. His project "Does the Source of Water Affect
the Quality of It?” involved testing various source waters against impurities
to see if any of them were unsafe to drink.
Fortunately, all of his source waters proved safe!
Our most unusual project was a
joint effort from Anna Gupta and David Lisk, both in 11th grade at
the Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora, for "An Egg-Based Water
Filter”. They experimented with varying amounts of silver nitrate in an egg
whites protein-matrix filter to kill E. coli in contaminated water. They hoped this filter could be used in
undeveloped countries as a low-cost water filter.
Another high school winner was Basil
Alias, a senior from Niles North High School in Skokie, for his "The Effectiveness
of Seed Filters vs. the LifeStraw Water Filter on E. coli” project. Basil’s experiment allowed him to see how
seed proteins affect the viability of E. coli.
In addition, he determined which seed’s proteins, when used in
conjunction with a filter, would be comparable with a commercially available
LifeStraw water filter.
The last of our awards went to
senior Alexander Gasca from Walter Payton College Prep School in Chicago, a
repeat winner from two years ago. For
his project "E. Coli? Iron it Out!” Alex was looking to develop a practical and
cost effective disinfection method. He
developed filters using a combination of zero-valent iron and sand that were
just as effective as proven disinfection technologies but at a fraction of
Annelise and Basil each received a
check for $300, Cameron received a check for $200, while our other two projects
received checks for $100 each. Four of
our project winners have agreed to present at this year’s Watercon. Please join Annelise, Cameron, Anna and David
to see them present their amazing projects and encourage their work in the
ISAWWA’s involvement in the
science fair would not be possible without our dedicated committee
members! Our volunteers this year were Steve
Gerdes and Kathy Gerdes (Town of Normal), Paul Burris (DuPage County Public Works), Ray Ames (Stanley
Consultants), Mike Turley (Village
of New Lenox), David Said (retired), Firat Sever (Benton and Associates) and
Walter Voegel, Elizabeth Doellman and
Diana Flanagan (Illinois American Water Company).
Please consider contacting your
local schools to provide support for the science fair and other education
activities. Next year’s science fair
will be moved to Northern Illinois University in DeKalb as the State Farm
Center (former Assembly Hall) at the University of Illinois is being renovated. If you would like to participate in next
year’s science fair, please email me (Randy.Vanderwerf@clarkdietz.com)
and I will include you on the mailing list.
We can always use more members for the science fair and other Outreach