Massachusetts State Science and Engineering Fair

Judging the Massachusetts State Science and Engineering Fair

Massachusetts State Science and Engineering FairOn Friday, May 4th, NDPL Cell Biologist Matthew Wilgo attended the Massachusetts State Science and Engineering Fair as a judge! Held at MIT’s campus in Cambridge, the annual event showcases science projects from some amazing Massachusetts high school students as they present their projects to expert judges and mentors.  A bit about MSSEF, from their website:

MSSEF enables thousands of students each year to experience first hand the professional practices of working scientists and engineers through the development of independent research projects, guided by teachers or mentors.  MSSEF supports schools to start/expand science fairs with mini-grants & consultants.  MSSEF empowers teachers to use inquiry and project-based approaches to STEM learning so that their students can better understand their world, think independently and critically, and help to solve everyday as well as global challenges.  MSSEF showcases and celebrates students’ research work through annual Science Fair events.

Massachusetts State Science and Engineering Fair

Matt’s Favorite Project

Matt has been  judging science projects at MSSEF for years. Not only is it an excellent opportunity to see some great work from our future scientific leaders, but it allows him to give back to the scientific community, and help foster the next generation of scientists. Some words from Matt on his favorite project this year:

I think my personal favorite was a young gentleman named Chris.  He was doing research on optimal conditions to raise crickets.  Yes, cricket husbandry!   It’s a huge industry and right now, as I learned, the pet store super chains have a monopoly.  They over charge and have issues with supply chain.  With his data and do-it-yourself technology we might one day revolutionize the reptile pet food supply paradigm.  He worried his work might not be that lucrative, but loves the work in herpetology (the study of amphibians and reptiles).  I countered that once upon a time Apple made the ‘second class’ computers, but people like Steve Jobs revolutionized his industry, and look at Apple now… king of the world.  His research could literally do the same thing.  Chris perked up with a smile and said he never really thought about it that way, but it made a lot of sense.  That’s the reward I get from volunteering as a judge.  It’s not just the judging, but its part mentor and part cheering.  These young adults greatly look up to us, and our advice on science and life, it means a lot to them.  It’s enriching, and greatly rewarding.  And give great thanks that our CEO lets me volunteer my time every year.  Who knows, one day one of these young scientists may discover a new cure with the very stem cells our company banks!

Thanks to Matt, the other judges, and all of the contestants for another great Massachusetts State Science and Engineering Fair!