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Senior High Science Fair

St. Ambrose kicked off a new tradition in Spring 2023: a Science Fair!

When Dr. Denise Ludvik began teaching at St. Ambrose in the Fall of 2022, she brainstormed this new STEM initiative with fellow Science faculty member Quinn Myers. “It’s one of those classic and memorable experiences that challenge students to dive in and explore a topic scientifically,” she said thinking back to the early days of planning.

Students in grades 9-12 could choose between two formats, based on their strengths and interests, and the resources available. Regardless of the format chosen, the goal of the project was for students to perform a scientific inquiry into a topic of interest to them. They would need to research background information and assess how experimentation leads to results and what impact the interpretation of those results has.

“While it is a great experience for all students to have,” Dr. Ludvik shared, “I also wanted to start to provide some foundation so that students interested in STEM fields would feel more supported/encouraged to participate in local science fairs.”

Looking ahead to future years, Dr. Ludvik indicated that she and fellow Science faculty will be able to teach students about the proposal/planning process for local science fairs, such as passing review boards and getting approval. They will be able to encourage students to submit some of their experimental projects to local fairs, making St. Ambrose more involved in STEM in the Madison area.

During the inaugural fair, students were able to share their projects and also visit their peers’ tables to learn more about the projects that classmates found compelling to research.

Several faculty members acted as judges, visiting the projects to talk with the students and assess the projects based on a set of criteria. Faculty and visiting parents and grandparents enjoyed chatting with students and learning more about their topics. We are pleased to share the winners of the 2023 Science Fair:

2023 Best Research Report

Samuel H., freshman

2023 Best Experiment

Tied Winning Project: Jack G. & Josh Z., juniors (photo forthcoming)

Tied Winning Project: Caroline W., junior

Thanks to all of the students for participating through their own projects and their curiosity in exploring others’. Below are a selection of the projects from this year’s Science Fair!

“I was impressed by the diversity of projects. It was awesome to see students really dive in, get excited about their work, and show it off to their classmates and teachers. There is so much more to learn than a teacher can cover in a year, and I feel like this was a way to encourage students to expand the breadth and depth of topics beyond what we can cover in class.

The best part was it was topics they wanted to learn more about or topics that mattered to them. Or even just something in science they thought was fun/cool and so they got the time to explore it more. I have a PhD and I learned things due to the sheer breadth and depth of topics covered at that fair!”

Dr. Denise Ludvik, co-coordinator of the Science Fair