Covenant Scientists STEAM Ahead


Recently, five Covenant middle school students competed at the Piedmont Regional Science Fair. Caroline Booker ’22, Ryland Dickman ’22, Pauline Gineste ’22, Susannah Carter ’21, and Julian Drake ’21 were sponsored by Science Department Chair Gretchen Feury and Science Teacher Sarah Green in the Junior Division. Additionally, Hunter Yates ’20, who completed his project independently, was sponsored by his father in the Senior Division.

The Science Fair is an opportunity for all middle school students to perform independent research on a self-selected topic. Seventh graders employ the scientific method using experimental design with an emphasis on procedures and data collection. During their eighth grade year, students design a prototype to address real world problems in the local or global community using the engineering design process.

“As teacher-sponsors, we provide guidance and feedback for methods and selections the students are making with each step of their Science Fair project,” says Gretchen.

Covenant students earned an impressive nine awards at this year’s Regional Fair with Julian Drake taking home first place in the Energy and Transportation category. His project on Gel Fuel was inspired by his love of model steam engines.

“Using models trains as his inspiration, I explained he needed to think of a problem and create a prototype as a solution; he was stumped. After much discussion, we decided fuels for the steam engines could be something he could test,” says Gretchen. Julian researched different fuel options and limitations and began to work on his prototype. He documented his experience and setbacks as he persevered to create a usable gel fuel.

Susannah Carter took her passion for nature and sought to create cleaner waterways in her engineering project. “Her design for a filtration system that could be used on farms and lands, with tributaries draining into our watershed, was outstanding. Though testing her prototype proved to be a challenge, she forged ahead with an exceptional project,” says Gretchen.

“We could not be more proud of all of our students who completed in the Science Fair. We are so pleased that they have been recognized for their talents in science, and their dedication toward a long-term project.”

Congratulations to the following Covenant winners:

Junior Division:

Caroline Booker What is the Effect of Photographs on Horses’ Memory?
Sponsor Sarah Green
Honorable Mention: Animal Sciences

Susannah CarterReducing Nitrate Pollution in Virginia’s Waterways
Sponsor Gretchen Feury
Third Place: Engineering – Materials & Bioengineering
Association for Women Geoscientists Award

Ryland DickmanToo Old to Learn?
Sponsor: Sarah Green
Honorable Mention: Behavioral & Social Sciences

Julian DrakeGel Fuel -Future or Flop
Sponsor Gretchen Feury
First Place: Energy & Transportation
Broadcom MASTERS (J10) – Certificate & entry booklet
National Ground Intelligence Center Engineering Award (Junior 2)

Senior Division

Hunter YatesRadio Messier Marathon
Sponsor Steve Yates
Charlottesville Astronomical Society Award (Senior)
Honorable Mention: Physics & Astronomy