Students Impress Viewers at the Science Fair


 By: Jenn Tate      
At the 2009 Hopkinton High School Science Fair, students proudly displayed the projects they have worked so hard on to judges and other viewers. Just by looking around the school library, which was lined with poster boards, it was evident that a lot of effort had gone into their experiments and presentations. The competition looked tough, and only the students who impressed the judges could move from states to regionals, and finally to nationals. 

John Henkel demonstrates his innovative Wii remote computer mouse.  Photo by Ryan McLean.
John Henkel demonstrates his innovative Wii remote computer mouse. Photo by Ryan McLean.

The kinds of experiments conducted by the students varied. “We tested the effects of subliminal messaging on the unconscious mind,” said Ashley DiFranza, who partnered with Nicole Lamb for their project, “It took a lot of work, but I’m glad we did it.” They conducted an experiment in which students watched a short video and then had to fill out a survey. The color of the pen they chose to fill it out determined whether or not the subliminal messaging had affected them. Ashley and Nicole found that the subliminal messaging failed because students did not generally pick the red pen as they were supposed to.

John Hinkel’s experiment was equally interesting, though very different. He created a headset and computer program that could be used by someone disabled, such as a paraplegic. His poster board even had pictures of a paraplegic man using his creation, something very fascinating and heart-warming to see. “I would do it again,” said John, speaking of the Science Fair.

Since then, the results have been determined. In first place was Courtney Onofrio, who tested the effect of Turmeric on learning in Parkinson’s Drosophila. John Hinkel took second place, and Danny Cunningham and Andy Ryan took third with their experiment about the effect of tubercles on wind turbines. In random order, Colleen Murray and Meghan Kruegar, Tom Coburn and Pat Jarvis, Kayla Lewkowicz, Lauren O’Loughlin, Alex Brown and Kate Richardson, Mary Kelly and Nicole Cooprider, Amy Sung and Gretchen Sileo, Vincent Buffa, Mitchell Culler and Ryan Foisy also qualified for regionals.

Courtney Onofrio and John Hinkel had the top two scoring pojects at the regional fair. They will be taking an all-expense paid trip to the International Fair in Reno Nevada. Other HHS students’ projects also received recognition. Overall, Hopkinton students developed some impressive projects this year.