The Bloomsburg Children’s Museum is happy to announce that 32 individual projects participated in the 9th annual science fair, which was held at the Bloomsburg Firehall on January 18th. Representing 6 different schools, all of the students involved did a fantastic job showing their creativity through their unique projects. Of the 32 projects entered, we are thrilled to reveal that 19 of these students will be moving on to the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) Regionals held at Susquehanna University on March 9th. There the students will have a chance to move on to the PJAS State Science Fair, held at Penn State University on May 20th.

The students who earned first place are as follows. John Grosso (Montgomery Middle School), Blake Rothermel (Line Mountain Middle School), Isabelle Clinard (Montgomery Middle School), Ben Farwell (Home School), Amelia Shrimp (Montgomery High School), Anna Kremsler (Home School), Nathan Corbeill (Home School).

Earning second-place scores were Chris Fairwell (Home School), Ben Kremser (Home School), Chase Waring (Montgomery Middle School), Glayne Gozum (Montgomery High School), Charlie Corbeill (Home School), Leni Farwel (Home School). Finishing with a third-place award were Victor Sleiman and Ariana McWilliams (Benton Area Junior-Senior Highschool), Emily Miller (Montgomery Middle School), Lily Gingery (Montgomery Middle School), and Jackson Gabrielsen (Home school).

Also moving onto the PJAS Regionals are Ethan Vincent and Cole Sorber (Benton Area) and Tim Farwell (Home School).

Brian Houser, Field Manager at PPL Electric and Utilities and our current Museum Board President, remained a fundamental component through both the organization of the event and his help as a judge. Touching on the exciting futures of these students, he is eager to see what inspiring innovations are to come.

“As the Children’s Museum Board President, I am impressed by the remarkable displays of creativity, curiosity, and scientific inquiry showcased at the science fair.  The students who participated demonstrated their impressive dedication to their projects and overall scientific acumen. Their innovative projects illuminate the potential for bright futures and I am confident that these budding scientists will continue to make significant contributions in our communities.”

Kevin Haughan of Finishing Engineer, Kawneer and Arconic Company, has been a long-standing judge since the creation of the annual science fair. This being his 9th time as a judge, he had a very enlightening perspective.

 “The first question I have always asked at the beginning of interacting with a participant is:  Why? Why this? The first few years, the answers were mostly that it was seen on YouTube, and they wanted to try it.  A few students would answer with honest enthusiasm for the topic, and they are typically the ones that stood out.  Now most of the students give answers as to why with a personal connection, and few students not only want to understand what they are working on but the supporting science.”

Robert Everly, our local Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science Region 5 Director, oversees the fair and on multiple occasions has acted as a judge. He mentioned the importance of the annual science fair for both the students participating and the community alike. He also noted that students moving on to the regional competition should aim to convert their presentational formats to appeal to the differing format of the event.

“I have attended (and helped as a judge) at each of the last few science fairs held at the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum and found the student projects both interesting and well done. I could clearly see that many of the students would do well at PJAS regionals. The big difference is that they need to convert their presentation from a Tri-Fold visual presentation to a PowerPoint presentation. In PJAS, each student has 10 minutes to present their work to a panel of judges, who then have 5 minutes to ask questions. Each student has their work scored by the judges based on a set of criteria. Those who score “First Awards” qualify to present at states. The State PJAS competition is held at Penn State University in mid-May.”

“At a time when student test scores are indicating that our country is falling behind many other countries in math and science, programs like these are so important!”

This event would not have been possible without the support of the PPL Foundation. Our thanks go to Brian Houser and Pennsylvania Power & Light for all they do to make the science fair a success.

The Bloomsburg Children’s Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit overseen by a board of directors. This organization strives to offer unique, sustainable, and dynamic learning opportunities for youth through year-round interactive exhibits, programming, and community outreach. For more information, please visit []

Judge Sean Stabler (Vice President of Innovation, Sekisui/Kydex) speaks to Blake Rothermel (8th grade, Line Mountain Middle School) about his project “Water Purification.”

Judge Brian Houser (PPL Utilities and Children’s Museum Board President) talks with Emily Miller (8th grade, Montgomery Area Jr/Sr High School) about her project “The Effects of Caffeine on the Brain.”

Judge Thomas James (Senior Judge, 26th Judicial District Court of Common Pleas) talks to Nathan Corbeill (11th grade, Homeschooled) about his project “Evaluating Factors Affecting the Rate of Photosynthesis.”

Anniston Tyson (8th grade, Montgomery Area Junior-Senior High School) walks Judge Kevin Haughan (Finishing Engineer, Kawneer and Arconic Company) through her project “Pinocchio’s Arm: A Lie Detector Test.”

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