Posted March 9, 2016

Young scientists converge at the annual Carver Science Fair

Citywide science fair provides opportunities for the region's future scientists to showcase their work.

A student pointing to research published on her poster at the science fair.
Ryan S. Brandenberg
Marawa Kamara was among the more than 600 Philadelphia public, parochial, charter and home-schooled students to showcase their science skills at Philadelphia’s largest annual science fair, held in Temple’s Athletic Pavilion.

Marawa Kamara, a 10th grade student at West Philadelphia’s KIPP DuBois Collegiate Academy, stood in the crowded atrium of Temple’s Athletic Pavilion with her science teacher Jason Porter. The two were going over what to expect from judges during the 39th annual George Washington Carver Fair.

Although she worked on her project for more than six months, Kamara was still a little nervous about presenting her work to judges. After all, there’s a lot at stake: The chance to present at the regional Delaware Valley Science Fair in Oaks, Pennsylvania and the possibility of winning scholarship money to attend Temple.

It’s important for [students] to actually practice science hands-on.
-- Tom Anderson, co-founder of the Carver Science Fair
“It was a lot of work. I spent time after school and on weekends to finish,” said Kamara, who hopes to study microbiology in college and researched the effects of magnetic therapy on worms.

“I learned that magnets don’t have much of an affect on the regeneration of skin tissue, which means that those magnetic bracelets you see on television probably don’t work as well as advertisements claim,” she said.

Participating in the Carver Science Fair is serious business for the more than 600 Philadelphia public, parochial, charter and home-schooled students in grades 7 through 12 who presented projects on topics ranging from engineering to zoology.

Co-founded by Tom Anderson, Temple’s former associate vice president for community relations, the science fair provides a chance for elementary, middle and and high school students to compete for scholarship money and other prizes. The elementary fair is held at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

In addition to the receiving the prestigious George Washington Carver Science Medal the top three winners in each grade have an opportunity to win partial scholarships to study science at Temple.

Since 2007–2013, five students who participated in the science fair have received partial scholarships in the amount of $12,000 from Temple to cover tuition.

“Students spend so much time in the classroom learning about science, it’s important for them to actually practice science hands-on,” said Anderson.

Founded by a group of educators and business people in 1979, the George Washington Carver Science Fair encourages urban youth to pursue academic achievement and careers in science. Since its inception, more than 37,000 students have participated in the fair and have, in many cases, moved on to compete in the Delaware Valley Regional and Intel International Science Fairs.

Related stories:
For biology senior, Carver Science Fair Scholarship made Temple a reality
High school science fair leads to engineering success
For the love of kids and science