MISD students head to regional science fair competition this weekend 

Marfa ISD scientific studies students head to the regional science fair held at the University of Texas Permian Basin this weekend. From left, Samuel Salgado, Dimetrey Stewart, Juan Bautista, Jack Marquez, Samantha Martinez, Fern Rivera and Lesly Torres. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Donaldson.

MARFA — The regional science fair competition takes place this Saturday, February 11, at the University of Texas Permian Basin in Odessa, and Marfa ISD will have five competing projects by teacher Elizabeth Donaldson’s scientific studies students. 

Competing junior scientists include Dimetrey Stewart and Samuel Salgado, Lesly Torres, Juan Bautista, Samantha Martinez and Jack Marquez. The students used skills developed in their scientific studies course to research, hypothesize and run experiments. A recent field trip to Sul Ross State University’s microbiology lab and library included lab work to fluoresce yeast and buccal swabs with Professor Anne Hilscher. 

Samantha Martinez, whose science fair project involved the processes of dyeing fabrics, including the use of temperature and electricity to achieve different techniques, said she is ready to show off what she’s been working on in class to the judges. 

“I am very excited for this upcoming science fair at UTPB,” said Martinez. “I’ve never done anything like this, so it’s very cool to be able to try something new. My project is about absorption properties of dye. I am testing how wool absorbs Kool-Aid with electricity.”

Senior Juan Bautista explored the effectiveness of mint versus cinnamon in oral healthcare products, which involved swabbing participants’ mouths before and after using dental hygiene products to test bacteria levels. 

“I incubated for 48 hours, and cinnamon had more colonies than mint did. After that I put the colony onto a slide and did a gram stain on them. Found out that there were Eikenella corrodens, Fusobacterium, and Streptococcus in the four subjects’ mouths,” said Bautista of his findings. 

Dimetrey Stewart and Samuel Salgado worked as a team to create a model for cost-effective prosthetics for young children. Stewart said the pair’s ambitious project has had them working up until their deadline this weekend. 

“The prep for the upcoming science fair has been absolutely hectic. Samuel and I have been having fun designing and making our project, a bionic hand, but we have been crazy busy trying to meet the deadlines,” said Stewart. 

Salgado agreed the project turned out to be more complicated than the duo originally planned, but he was feeling optimistic about their recent progress and competing. 

“We are really far along, and I wouldn’t doubt if we do quite well, as our effort seems to be paying off in these last couple of days,” said Salgado. “The process has been stressful at times, but also surprisingly fun, especially now that everything is finally coming together in the physical world, not just in [computer aided design].” 

Last year, a Marfa ISD science fair team which competed in regionals was selected by judges to bypass the state competition and attend the national competition held in Atlanta, Georgia. Jack Marquez, who worked to compare the star glow surrounding Marfa, Alpine and Fort Davis, was hopeful all of the Shorthorn science fair submissions would succeed this year.  

We have been working very hard on our projects, and it has been a lot of fun to research and learn new things about the area I live in,” said Marquez. “I feel confident about my project, and I hope to make it past regionals. I feel that my classmates’ projects are also very well done, and I know they’ll do great at the regional science fair. Go Horns!”