Two Springfield High School students earned all-expense paid trips to international science competitions with projects that addressed issues in the local environment.
Seniors Humza Bashir and Sam Thompson were selected to compete at the international level based on their projects at the Southwest District Science Fair at Central State University on March 17.
Bashir, 17, the son of Huma and Shahid Bashir, used his project to test an affordable alalgaecide that could help control algae that poses a threat to the fish populations in Buck Creek. It was a continuation of the project he started as a freshman four years ago and has built on each year through the science fair.
“I kind of just needed a last-second topic my freshman year,” he said. “The research has become pretty prevalent at least to me.”
Bashir said he found that the combination of salicylic acid and calcium carbonate did reduce the algae in his samples at Buck Creek.
Bashir hasn’t chosen a college yet but plans to study environmental science, medicine and acting. He is the fourth Springfield High School student in four years to be selected for participation in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix in May.
Participation in the science fair helped him learn to make presentations and think independently.
“Through science fair, that’s how I figured out how I learn best and that’s through asking and answering my own questions,” he said.
Classmate Thompson, 18, son of Amy and Gordon Thompson, also plans to study environmental science when he attends Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania next fall.
His project evaluated carbon levels in Springfield wetlands to determine if man-made ecosystems like forests and wetlands could help reduce the carbon footprint and which parts of the wetland did so most effectively.
“It was just a great experience, in general, for learning in my field,” he said.
The science fair combines learning with real-world application, Thompson said.
“I feel like it really gives students insight into modern problems,” he said. “These problems can be addressed through a project in the science fair if you really put your mind to it. Even if you’re just a high school student, you can really make leaps and bounds in the field of science.”
Thompson will travel to Houston to compete in the International Sustainable World Award.
Twenty-five Springfield High students competed at the fair and 15 qualified for the state science fair in May at the Ohio State University, according to the district. Nazeer Ahmed, Collin Roberts, Rehan Syed and Peder Tune won special awards.