The Maine State Science Fair (MSSF) celebrated its 75th year on Saturday, April 3, 2021, hosted by Maine Mathematics & Science Alliance (MMSA) and The Jackson Laboratory. Teens and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) professionals from across Maine gathered virtually for the state’s most prestigious competition celebrating high school researchers and innovators. The MSSF is open to students from all public, private, parochial, and home schools (grades 9-12) throughout Maine.
The event has a long history, but MSSF has more than just the traditional sciences. They welcome projects from the fields of computer science, engineering, mathematics, behavioral and social sciences, and data science. The MSSF culminates months of hard work done by students to investigate problems facing our world or develop solutions to benefit humanity. The Fair has attracted 155 students from 24 public and private high schools this year, and prizes from colleges and universities partnering with the event offer nearly $1M in scholarships annually.
Hancock Lumber sponsored the Plant Sciences category for this year’s science fair.
The winners of this category were Meaghan Caron from Bangor High School, Nora Goldberg-Courtney of Maine Coast Waldorf School in Freeport, and Bryce Carter of Hancock County Technical Center in Ellsworth. Meaghan studied using an invasive species, Japanese knotweed, as an alternative fuel source. Her results were promising, but she would need a larger sample size of pellets to confirm the statistical differences. Nora designed a miniature hydroponic greenhouse and analyzed the hardiness and productivity of three types of kale when grown indoors. Her results showed that a hydroponic greenhouse could grow these vegetables indoors during the winter months. Finally, Bryce studied the role of microgreens in helping to solve the world hunger crisis. His study showed that kale harvested in 2 weeks or less held a significantly higher nutritional value than mature kale, and could be harvested numerous times before a mature kale plant.
Congratulations to the first, second, and third place winners!