Catholic students shine at regional science fair

Friday, Apr. 09, 2021
By Linda Petersen
Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY – As students across the United States have navigated both in-person and online learning during the pandemic, many have wondered if they learn better in person or online. J.E. Cosgriff Memorial Catholic School seventh-grader Anna Smith, 12, investigated this subject for her science fair project. 
“This year has been pretty different because I’ve been doing a lot of online learning because of COVID and I wanted to see if that has affected the way we learn,” said Anna, who experienced a hybrid model of in-person and online learning for the first quarter of the 2021-22 school year.
The project so impressed judges at the University of Utah Science & Engineering Fair, held March 8-12, that Anna took first place in the junior Behavioral & Social Science category. The fair was held virtually this year.
To test her hypothesis that students fare better with in-person instruction, Anna enlisted 15 of her peers as test subjects. She read passages aloud to them in-person and online, then had them take a comprehension test provided by the school’s reading specialist. Some subjects participated both in-person and online, while others only participated online. Anna then compared the scores and mapped the data in a bar graph.
Anna found that subjects who were read to and took the tests in person scored an average of 76 percent, while those who did everything online scored an average of 67 percent. However, some individual students did better online or had the same scores as in person. 
While her hypothesis proved to be correct, Anna said she was surprised by the results. “I was expecting a bigger gap between the averages because I personally found online learning pretty difficult, compared to in-person,” she said.
Because of her experience this year, Anna is looking forward to next year’s science fair, which she hopes will be in-person. 
“I thought it was a very good learning experience for me,” she said. “I had a lot of fun doing my project and analyzing the data.” 
Many of Anna’s Utah Catholic Schools peers also excelled at the University of Utah Science & Engineering Fair. Following is a list of winners.
University of Utah Science & Engineering Fair
Utah Catholic Schools winners
Elementary Division
Behavioral & Social Science - 2nd Place: Grace Mese, Blessed Sacrament 
Biology and Microbiology -2nd Place: Violette-Reine Evans, St. John the Baptist 
Chemistry & Biochemistry -Honorable Mention: Zabian Flores, St. Andrew; Izzy Garcia, St. John the Baptist 
Electrical Engineering -2nd Place: Noah Davis, St. John the Baptist 
Earth & Environmental Science -1st Place: Laura Caetano, Blessed Sacrament; Honorable Mention: Chase Kramer, St. Olaf
Physics, Astronomy & Math -1st Place: Tyler Lengerich, St. John the Baptist; Honorable Mention: Connor Hoisington, Blessed Sacrament 
Junior Division
Behavioral & Social Science -1st Place: Anna Smith, J.E. Cosgriff; 3rd Place: Isaac Hildebrand, J.E. Cosgriff 
Biology and Microbiology - 2nd Place: Mia Sibthorp, J.E. Cosgriff; 3rd Place: Maya Phillips, Our Lady of Lourdes
Chemistry & Biochemistry - 1st Place: Trey Nicolodemos, St. John the Baptist; 2nd Place: Abbey Bowers, St. Vincent de Paul
Electrical Engineering - 1st Place: Dakota Lara, Kearns-St. Ann; 2nd Place: Beau Saber, J.E. Cosgriff; 3rd Place: Jacob Tanner, St. John the Baptist 
Energy: Chemical & Physical - 3rd Place: Sophia Lentz, St. John the Baptist 
Earth & Environmental Science - 2nd Place: Nikolas Vargas, St. Andrew
Mechanical & Materials Engineering - 2nd Place, Sarah Fiore, St. John the Baptist
Medicine, Health Sciences, & Biomedical Engineering - 1st Place: Belinda Hernandez, Kearns-St. Ann; 2nd Place: Dylan Anderson, St. Vincent de Paul
Physics, Astronomy & Math - 1st Place: Ella Still, J.E. Cosgriff; 3rd Place: James Anderson, St. Vincent de Paul; 4th Place: Joshua Hale, St. Olaf
Senior Division
Behavioral & Social Science - 3rd Place: Emma Baker, Juan Diego Catholic High School; 4th Place: Mark Stevens, JDCHS
Biology and Microbiology - 3rd Place: Irvane Nelson, JDCHS
Chemistry & Biochemistry -1st Place: Aymeric Blaizot, JDCHS; 2nd Place: Thomas Varghese, JDCHS; 3rd Place: Tynli Moore and Jasmine Aguilar, JDCHS 
Computer Science & Applied Computational Methods - 4th Place: Connor Cutshall, JDCHS
Medicine, Health Sciences, & Biomedical Engineering - 2nd Place: Emilie Etchart, JDCHS; 4th Place: Evan Lee, JDCHS 
Plant Sciences - 1st Place: Kalli Bo, Judge Memorial CHS
Special Awards
Association for Women Geoscientists Salt Lake Chapter - 1st Place (Junior): Beau Saber, J.E. Cosgriff 
University of Utah College of Science Scholarship: Aymeric Blaizot, JDCHS; Kalli Bo, Judge Memorial Catholic High School
Loveland Living Planet Junior Division: Beau Saber, J.E. Cosgriff
Mission Math Elementary Division - 1st Place: Laura Caetano, Blessed Sacrament
Mission Math Junior Division - 2nd Place: Tessa Fowler, J.E. Cosgriff; 3rd Place: Malen Semerad, St. Vincent de Paul
Office of Naval Research - U.S. Navy/U.S. Marine Corps Junior Division: Trey Nicolodemos, St John the Baptist; Sarah Fiore, St. John the Baptist
Office of Naval Research - U.S. Navy/U.S. Marine Corps Senior Division: Connor Cutshall, JDCHS; Emilie Etchart JDCHS
USEF Student Advisory Board Junior Division - 1st Place: Belinda Hernandez-Padilla, Kearns-St. Ann
Society for In Vitro Biology: Irvane Nelson, JDCHS
T.D. Williamsom Outstanding Project in Energy or Environmental Science: Beau Saber, J.E. Cosgriff 
Broadcom MASTERS
Laura Caetano, Blessed Sacrament; Tyler Lengerich, St. John the Baptist; Belinda Hernandez-Padilla, Kearns-St. Ann; Trey Nicolodemos, St. John the Baptist; Ella Still, J.E. Cosgriff; Violette-Reine Evans, St. John the Baptist; Abbey Bowers, St. Vincent de Paul; Dakota Lara, Kearns-St. Ann; Anna Smith, J.E. Cosgriff; Noah Davis, St. John the Baptist; Grace Mese, Blessed Sacrament; Nikolas Vargas, St. Andrew; Dylan Anderson, St. Vincent de Paul

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