D-M student to travel to International Science Fair

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Michael Washburn
  • 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
As the winner of the observer award, Chelsea West and her family are slated to travel to Pittsburgh in May for the International Science and Engineering Fair.

West, a student at D-M's Sonoran Science Academy, took home the International Science and Engineering Fair observer award at the Southern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair in March.

Joining her at the ISEF will be students from 65 countries, regions and territories all competing for more than $4 million in prizes and awards.

The Sonoran Science Academy took 25 students to the regional event, where they competed against more than 6,000 other students and took home 11 awards.

"My project was on acid rain and the effects it has on shell fish," said West. "I was interested in it because it seems like everyone is becoming interested in going green and their worried about what will happen to our planet if we don't start becoming more energy efficient. I thought it was a good topic because acid rain doesn't just affect shell fish, it can affect other things like the food chain and our atmosphere."

West says she enjoyed many different things about the SARSEF.

"I personally enjoyed the judges' interviews," West said. "I felt like I was being challenged with the kind of questions they asked. I also liked being able to see all the projects the other competitors had and seeing what they were interested in."

Even though West is the top middle school winner, she will be unable to compete in the ISEF due to her grade-level. She will still be able to attend and have the opportunity to meet many top scientists and Nobel Prize laureates.

"I'm in eighth grade and only high school students get to compete in the international science fair," West said. "I get to go as an observer, so I don't have to compete all week. I get an insider's look at what I might be competing with next year."

With more than 6,000 participants in the SARSEF, West was in shock when she heard her named being called.

"I couldn't believe I had won," West said. "My dad kept joking around saying 'you better win the top prize.' He's a (Pittsburgh) Steelers fan, so he really wanted to go. It was really unbelievable when I won."