Science Day brings out aspiring scientists at YSU

By John W. Goodwin Jr.


Dozens of young aspiring scientists from across the area converged on Youngstown State University on Saturday in hopes of earning a ticket to the state science competition and, for most, insight into a career in science.

Lake-to-River Science Day winners

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Results of Lake-to-River Science Day

More than 140 students from Mahoning, Trumbull, Ashtabula and Columbiana counties displayed and demonstrated research projects inside Stambaugh Stadium during the Lake to River Science Day. The top 50 students from the YSU science event will be going to a state competition in May.

The students attending the science day event were the top qualifiers in smaller science competitions at their respective schools. They are in fifth to 12th grades.

Stephan Rodabaugh, associate dean of the YSU Science, Tech-nology, Engineering and Mathematics college and event organizer, said the process is highly involved and requires students to go beyond just basic research.

“This is not a ‘write a term paper in the library’ type of thing. We want them to be hands-on, experiencing the scientific method,” he said.

Rodabaugh said there are cash prizes and recognition involved in winning at the local and state levels, but the event is about more than that — it is a gateway into what may become a career for most of the students competing.

“When the students experience hands-on the operation of the scientific method, they are much more likely to choose a life or career in the area of applied science and engineering,” he said.

Alexandra Miller, a ninth-grade student from Hubbard, and Alyssa Armstrong, a 10th-grader from Canfield, share the desire to turn science into a career and help society in the process.

Miller recently helped raise money for the building of wells and promotion of clean drinking water in developing countries and became fascinated with bringing clean water to people who do not have clean water now. She conducted an experiment on methods of solar water- disinfection.

“I really got to thinking about how many people do not have clean water. ... There are people in developing countries, 1 billion people, who don’t have clean water,” said Miller.

Miller said she hopes to dedicate a career to finding and implementing inexpensive means of bringing clean and usable water to those who need it.

Armstrong wants to find new methods of dealing with wastewater — methods that simultaneously will benefit the Earth. She conducted an experiment on the effects of wastewater in the growth of lettuce.

“The new EPA regulations no longer allow or restrict wastewater plants from incinerating their sludge, so I wanted to find a way to use sludge that will help the environment instead of just dumping it in a landfill,” she said.

Armstrong is hoping to enter environmental engineering as a career.

For a complete list of the students selected to advance to the state competition, visit

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