High School Science Students Shine In Bar Harbor 

The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor was full of future scientists.”I tested the stroop effect on left and right handed kids,” said Maura Verrill, a freshman at Greely High School in Cumberland Center. “I’m doing porous concrete, and I was testing the water flow through the different sizes of the aggregate,” said Sarah Novick, one of Verrill’s classmates. “We studied the interaction of the invasive species, carcinus maenas, which is the green crab, on the nano species, the Maine lobster. We got a lot of data while snorkeling,” said Michael Pajak, a senior at the Chop Point School in Woolwich. All morning science standouts showed off the research they have been working on for the past year. “Every student is judged by at least three judges and then they get together and they decide the winner for that category,” said B.J. Cunningham, the Outreach Education Coordinator for K-12 at the Jackson Laboratory. The top three scorers overall will go to an international science fair in Arizona. “I was extremely nervous, but it feels really good to present and to have the opportunity to do this,” said Verrill. Meaghan Currie earned the top spot last year. “When I won I wasn’t expecting anything at all. But it was such an amazing experience,” said the now sophomore at Greely High School. Currie placed second overall for her project this year, filtration rates of mytilus edulis as related to harmful algal blooms.But, winning isn’t everything. “It’d be nice, but were not too competitive about it. We’re just in it for the fun,” said Pajak. It’s giving these high schoolers motivation for the future.”The fastest growing industries in Maine are technology based or science based and we’re finding a huge shortage in the amount of people that are coming through colleges that are able to fill those jobs. I’m hoping that this science fair will help encourage these kids to pursue those fields and fill that need,” said Cunningham. Mary Butler, a sophomore at Bangor High School is the grand prize winner. Her project was nanofibrillated cellulose as the potential component of a low-cost water filtration system.