Education

Students From Twin Tiers Schools Compete During Regional Science Fair at St. Bonaventure University

84b1efc98db1275a1a23_IMG_8244.jpeg
Sully O’Dell, a freshman at Allegany-Limestone Central School, experimented with the use of magnets to prevent concussions in football games. Credits: David Andoh
6101ee578d62f8ba3251_FAIR.jpg
More than 30 students competed in the third annual Twin Tiers Regional Science Fair at St. Bonventure University. Credits: Bryce Spadafora
b4b934ce583d42192191_2745843d3d8662b508d0_ODELL.gif
Sully O'Dell explains his concussion-preventing experiment at the Twin Tiers Regional Science Fair. Credits: Bryce Spadafor
ea4aed1d2759dfadf6c2_SHAW.gif
Tedden Shaw, an eighth-grader, demonstrates a prosthetic leg he designed. Credits: Bryce Spadafora
81870acfbb12defec254_WILSON.gif
A judge at the Twin Tiers Regional Science Fair examines Mackenzie Wilson's work. Credits: Bryce Spadafora
84b1efc98db1275a1a23_IMG_8244.jpeg

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY -- A row of potted plants; a group of solar panels; a bridge made of Popsicle sticks.

These are experiments that can be found in science classrooms across America. And for students at the Twin Tiers Regional Science Fair, these experiments were the results of months of hard work.

More than 30 students from six  schools in the Twin Tiers region gathered in the Doyle Dining Hall at St. Bonaventure University on Thursday morning for the university-sponsored third annual fair, presenting experiments in the fields of biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics and physics.

Sign Up for E-News

The students competed for scholarships, Amazon gift cards, and the chance to advance to science fairs scheduled for later this year.

However, some students said the fair was also a chance to help the communities they live in.

Sully O’Dell, a freshman at Allegany-Limestone Central School, experimented with the use of magnets to prevent concussions in football games.

“I’m a football player, and I have friends that have experienced concussions,” O’Dell said. “I definitely wanted to research this problem. I was playing with magnets one day and thought, ‘Hey, maybe this would work.’ ”

O’Dell designed a machine that slams two football helmets together, simulating a collision. O’Dell said he measured the force of impact between the two helmets. Then he added two opposite facing magnets to the helmets.

According to O’Dell, the helmets with magnets repelled each other, resulting in a lower force of impact.

“We’re more vulnerable as high schoolers than NFL players,” O’Dell said. “If scientists can find a way to make the brain and the skull move as one, then concussions would go away. That’s what the magnets do.”

For Mackenzie Wilson, her experiment is an opportunity to help the environment.

Wilson, a junior at Hinsdale Central School, experimented with recycling dish water, known as “graywater,” to grow plants.

“It’s become very popular because about 50 percent of the U.S. has drought problems.” Wilson, said.

Wilson said her grandparents inspired her to experiment with recycling graywater.

“My grandparents live in California,” Wilson said. “They used to have a huge garden in their yard, but had to minimize it because of water restrictions. They started to use this system when I visited them last summer."

According to Wilson, the plants she watered with graywater produced better flowers than plants she watered using filtered water. Wilson said she plans to bring her findings back to her grandparents in California and share what she learned.

“There are many homes that have yards that look like deserts,” Wilson said. “Using the graywater will bring that green life back to those areas.”

Tedden Shaw, an eighth-grader at Archbishop Walsh Academy, experimented with designing an affordable prosthetic leg.

“I wanted to see if I could make a prosthetic leg that was cheaper than the ones you can get on market,” said Shaw. “Normally they cost $50,000 to $70,000. I got mine for under $30.”

Shaw demonstrated his prosthetic leg, strapping it to his knee and walking around the hall.

According to Shaw, this was not his first time experimenting with prosthetic limbs. Last year he designed a prosthetic arm that could pick up water bottles.

“If you make them right, you can actually play sports with them,” Shaw said.

The fair concluded with an awards ceremony in the Doyle Hall Trustee’s Room.

O’Dell, the freshman from Allegany-Limestone, won the opportunity to attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, California. He will spend one week in May with students from 70 countries. And when O’Dell returns to the Twin Tiers area he will become Intel ISEF Ambassador for 2018, sharing his experiences at the fair with local students.

Dr. Jim Pientka, assistant professor of physics at St. Bonaventure, spoke to the students about the importance of their work.

“I had the opportunity to look around and see each project,” Pientka told the students. “You can tell that each and every one of you has a passion for science. Don’t let that end here.”

Pientka, one of the five St. Bonaventure faculty who helped organize the fair, encouraged the students to keep pursuing science.

“Continue pursuing science, mathematics, engineering, technology,” Pientka said. “Those fields are very important for making not only the quality of our lives better, but also making a difference in our environment.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Greater Olean

Understanding the Tough Times at The Buffalo News Can Lead to Brighter Future for the Newspaper 

Given the fiscal state of the news industry, the changes underway at The Buffalo News are not unique. To offset revenue losses, newspapers across the nation have bid farewell to longtime reporters, eliminated once-popular sections and removed jobs that involved covering important beats, such as education, the environment and transportation. 

What makes the ...

Grandpa Practiced Sustainability

My grandpa was of the Depression Era. Sustainability wasn’t “a thing” back then — it was just the way you lived. Though he was raised in a time when you were thankful to be able to put a good meal on the table, he likely had a standard of life that we would consider average or middle class today. He didn’t grow up in a slum or shanty town, but he did understand the ...

'March for Our Lives' Started A Historic Movement

Shoes on the ground. People chanting. Signs held high. Music playing in the background.

It is the start of a historic movement. A moment when every race, gender and age came together as one. A movement that involved change and a March for Our Lives.

As a student journalist going out to the world, taking part in a national movement truly moved me. Reporting the significance of March for ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, June 19, 9:00 AM

The ReHabilitation Center, Olean

ReHab Center Schedules Hiring Event for June 19

Business & Finance

Tue, June 19, 12:30 PM

Olean Public Library, Olean

Brown Bag Book Club

Education

Tue, June 19, 6:00 PM

Olean Public Library, Olean

Pride Month Film Series: 'To Wong Foo, Thanks for ...

Arts & Entertainment

Olean General Announces Schedule for June 21 Strawberry Festival

June 13, 2018

OLEAN, NY -- The 32nd annual Olean General Hospital Auxiliary Strawberry Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., June 21 on the front lawn of the hospital, 515 Main St. 

In addition to the more than 80 pounds of strawberries used to serve strawberry shortcake, the event will offer sausage sandwiches, hot dogs, Texas hots, a baked potato bar, drinks, baked goods, craft items, ...

'A Day in the Life': One Transportation Supervisor Serves Portville and Olean

PORTVILLE, NY – A whiteboard with dozens of destinations and vehicle numbers written in various colors sits inside the Portville bus garage, ready to be changed at any moment. David Youngs, the transportation supervisor of the Portville and Olean School Districts, knows that before 2 almost every afternoon, he is likely to receive an email changing the entire meticulously planned ...

'A Day in the Life' Follows Della Moore of the African American Center for Cultural Development

OLEAN, NY – When Della Moore walks down the street, she greets everyone she passes and makes sure to ask, “How are you doing?” 

From the moment I joined her at the 7-Eleven on a cloudy, cold December morning until we finished making our stops along State and North Union streets, she remained ...

'Day in the Life' Follows Warehouse Selector Justus Elliot

OLEAN, NY -- For Justus Elliot, time and pace are essential. As a warehouse selector for Olean Wholesale Grocery Co-Op, most of the 21-year-old’s job calls for efficiency.

“Everything is time-based," Elliot explained. "One hundred percent is the norm, and it’s what we work for every day. If our score is less, then we are moving too slow, and we kick it into ...

Happy Veterans Day, Mom

What began as an attempt to boost her GPA soon turned into a 22-year career for my mom, Ramona Lee Discavage.

On the first day of her freshman year at St. Bonaventure University in 1989, members of the Army ROTC Seneca Battalion helped incoming freshmen move their stuff into their dorm rooms.  Afterward, they invited all of the freshmen to a lunch.

“When they described the ...

Lynn Kemp: ‘Best Soldier I Could Be’

Lynn Kemp is nearing 95 and knows he has lived a good life.

“The good Lord has been awful good to me,” recalled the lifelong resident of Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania. “I never refused an order. I tried to be the best soldier I could be. I don’t know what your relationship is with God, but mine is pretty close.”

Born Oct. 29, 1920, Lynn grew up in a home on Turkey ...

WW II museum provides role models for young people

When Steve Appleby asks area students if they know Snoop Dog, Eminem, Kanye West, the Kardashians, Parris Hilton or Miley Cyrus, they answer yes. Then Appleby will ask which of them knows Jason Dunham is, and the students will not have a clue.

Appleby will explain that Jason Dunham was a Marine from Scio, in Allegany County, New York, who was killed in Iraq in 2006 after jumping on a grenade ...