By Hailie Avila, Christina Nelson and Tessa Waterman
MAR 22, 2016
Kelly Litts, a senior at Saint Thomas Aquinas (STA), took first place in the Chemistry Division of the Broward County Science Fair. Essentially, Kelly turned plant oil into fuel. In her own words, “ I made biodiesel from the Jatropha curcas plant. I used two different catalysts, KOH and NaOH to catalyze the transesterification reaction that turns oil to diesel.” The name of her entry was “The Effect of Catalyzation on Transesterification and the Difference in the Energy Efficiency of Biodiesel from Jatropha curcas Oil versus that of Cocos nucifera Oil”.
“I love science and I love competition, so this fair seemed perfect for me.” Kelly has participated in the Broward County Science Fair for the past three years and won first place twice. This is the second year that she qualified to compete in the Florida State Science and Engineering Fair. Kelly, who is passionate about this field, plans to major in neuroscience.
Mrs. Shearer holds an Independent Research class, after school, where she assists students in preparing their science projects for the competitions. She stated that, of the thirteen students who submitted their projects to the Broward County Science Fair, nine students won awards. “My advice to Kelly and the other contestants who wish to pursue science, would be to just follow their dreams and their passions.”
Another contestant in the Broward County Science Fair was, STA junior, Lauren Enten. Lauren won first place in the Microbiology Division of the fair. The name of her entry was, “Leveraging the Antimicrobial Properties of Jatropha curcas in Suture Engineering.” Lauren stated, “It is a very fun experience to do what you love and help people at the same time.” She encourages any students who are interested in science to take Mrs. Shearer’s after school Independent Research Class.
STA students have competed and won in the Broward County Science Fair for three consecutive years. Mrs. Shearer hopes to continue this trend next year. Any students who are interested in competing in the Broward County Science Fair should contact Mrs. Shearer in room 422.