cwvDm9asA_Lw9YsGTQNy8vWzhk4-7It was really surprising,” junior Katelynne Marsan said when it finally happened. “I was really happy to find out I finally made it.”

What started out as a small interest later turned into a big achievement when Marsan won the state’s science fair and went on to compete at a national level in Pennsylvania last year.

“They were originally a school project in elementary school,” she said of her science projects. “But I was interested in it so I kept doing it through middle school and now.”

Marsan competed as a freshman, but didn’t advance.

“It was kind of exciting too,” Marsan said. “Because the year before I got really close but not quite.

“It’s really hard to make it as a freshman.”

Marsans experiment was on students and if group dynamics affected their learning.

“I looked at the effects of different types of collaborations on students success in different areas so accuracy retention and productivity,” she said. “From this I was able to determine that kids who are working in small groups that are randomly assigned and had a lot of structure were more successful in terms of accuracy and retention which is what I was really trying to figure out so that was really interesting.”

Chemistry teacher Alissa Nevin supported Marsan’s project.

“Katelynne figured out her own project,” said Nevin. “I didn’t help her with any of the research or background part of it. The main thing I helped her with was kind of the logistics of using the students in my class and the other two chemistry classes as her test subjects. Other than that I didn’t help her with a whole lot except for support her when she needed help with that kind of thing, but she did everything on her own.

“She’s amazing like that.”

The scientific process takes patience Marsan shares.

“You have to start with an idea,” she said. “And you have to do a lot of research about it, figure out all the different studies that have been done previously and take what has already been figured out and then try to apply it to your own research.”

Marsan finds a way to juggle her time with the science fair and Hi-steppers.

“I did this, the science fair project, mostly outside of school,” she said. “That was a lot on weekends a lot on my own time and Hi-steppers mostly is practice or rehearsals after school so it worked out pretty well actually.”

Marsan learns things through this process that not only apply to her science projects, but to her life as well.

“A lot of what I’ve learned has come just from trial and error, and just seeing what works and what doesn’t,” she said. “A lot of times it’s kind of difficult to come up with something that works the first time. You have to be persistent. You have to try things again. It’s kind of frustrating but it also helps you learn a lot.”

Marsan gets something new from all of her science projects.

“I enjoy doing science fair because there are several things that you learn by doing your own research that you wouldn’t learn otherwise just taking a science class or really any other class,” she said. “I think that’s an experience that’s really important to have if you want to have a career in the sciences or anything involving research.”

Marsan does science fair projects to one day have a career in the sciences.

“Right now I kind of want to be a neurophysiologist based on what I know of that,” she said. “I’m not completely sure yet.”

Marsan finds time to plan things she would want to after high school.

“This year, I have an independent study class period,” she said. “Part of the time I’m planning on doing an internship with people who work with neurologists, so I can kind of get the experience. Just to sort of see is that is what I want to do or not.”

Marsan overall finds the experience worth it.

“It’s kind of frustrating but it also helps you learn a lot and it’s rewarding in the end when you get good results.”

Written by Veronica Lopez
Staff Writer