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Dutchess Science Fair a cauldron of curiosity, creativity

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Students from around Dutchess County competed on April 7 in the annual gathering at Dutchess Community College that is designed to sharpen a range of skills.
John W. Barry/Poughkeepsie Journal

Science can stir a lot of curiosity and questions.

Does a potato or a lemon produce more energy? Will earthworms placed in different environmental conditions grow at the same rate? Are students carrying too much weight in their backpacks?

Students from public, private and parochial schools in Dutchess County on Saturday attempted to answer these and other questions during the 59th Annual Dutchess County Regional Science Fair. 

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The forum at Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie attracted 206 students from the fifth through 12th grades at 40 schools. Project names included “Spherification,” “Marvelous Memory,” “Mold Mania” and “Spinach Chromatography.”

“It brings everyone in and we can all share our science fair projects … and have a friendly competition,” said Rio Quinn of Wappingers Falls, a 12-year-old student at Dutchess Day School in Millbrook whose project analyzed the effect of wi-fi on cress plants. “I had a lot of fun here and it was really good.”

The goal of the science fair was to develop organizational, research and communication skills in students as they gear up for college and careers. Multiple awards were scheduled to be handed out, with one winner headed for an international competition.

From the technology for smartphones to a cure for cancer, the applications of science can be broad, said Maung S. Htoo of LaGrange, director of the Dutchess County Regional Science Fair. 

“It’s important to carry these organizational and communication skills through life,” said Htoo.

Town of Poughkeepsie resident Michael Sperling served as a judge at the science fair. He said the event was a cauldron for curiosity and creativity.

“You see all these young scientists here and they’re just amazing with what they come up with, the different experiments,” said Sperling, who works at IBM in Poughkeepsie. “They have this boundless energy and creativity in them.”

John W. Barry: jobarry@poughkeepsiejournal.com; 845-437-4822; Twitter: @JohnBarryPoJo

In memory of

The 59th Annual Dutchess County Regional Science Fair was dedicated to the memory of Loretta Anne Htoo, the late wife of science fair director Maung S. Htoo of LaGrange. According to her husband, she served as a science fair volunteer for 29 years.

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