More than 150 middle and high school students from throughout the state visited WVU Tech for the second annual West Virginia Science and Art Fair on Friday, October 17.
WVU President Gordon Gee kicked off the event, addressing the young artists and scientists.
“Science is important. Arts are important. There’s nothing more important than being involved at this age,” he said. “This is a time for fun, a time for tremendous learning opportunities and a time to get together for friendly competition where you can learn from one another.”
In the arts division, students exhibited sculptures, hand-drawn sketches and paintings.
In science categories, students entered investigatory science projects, sharing their experimental research in topics ranging from earth and space sciences to chemistry and biology. Students also entered display projects, submitted papers, participated in a project symposium and competed in Olympiad events.
Derek Midkiff, an eighth-grade science teacher at Andrew Jackson Middle School, brought 19 students who had previously competed in the school’s own science fair. He said the science fair’s atmosphere stimulates learning by offering students a chance to explore topics they find interesting.
“I think the most important part of this is that students own their work, they take it home with them. Some of them get their parents, their families involved. It gets the students doing something outside the regular curriculum, and it gets them in a competitive situation academically,” he said.
Midkiff said his students are enthusiastic about showing their work, which includes research on how crickets react to music and a “stinky shoes” project where students determine which materials can prevent shoes from smelling after use.
“This is our first year at the fair and our students are excited about it. They’re excited about competing with other students from other schools. I think this is a great thing that WVU Tech is doing, and I hope it grows. We’ll certainly be back next year,” he said.
The fair was hosted by WVU Tech, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.