Nearly 600 High School Students Compete in Jersey Shore Science Fair at Stockton University

For Immediate Release


Contact:         Maryjane Briant
                        News and Media Relations Director
                        Galloway, N.J. 08205
                        (609) 652-4593

Galloway, N.J. - Nicholas Fleming, an eighth grader at St. Vincent de Paul Regional School in Mays Landing, N.J., loves cats. So for his science fair experiment, titled: ”Is that cat fat?”, he measured 20 of them, including his own pet, Luna, to find out which ones were at healthy weights and which could stand to lose a few.

“I recorded their breed, gender, whether they were indoor or outdoor cats and their ideal weights and determined their ‘pet body score,’” he explained today at the Jersey Shore Science Fair at Stockton University.

How did he figure out a cat’s ideal weight? He got the information from a veterinary web site. Where did he find 20 cars willing to cooperate? “My mom and I volunteer at the Funny Farm,” an animal recue sanctuary in his hometown. The owner let him measure the cats there.

Stockton hosted nearly 600 students from 43 New Jersey middle and high schools at the science fair, the region’s largest such competition. Over 545 projects submitted by students in sixth through 12th grades were judged on criteria including creative ability, scientific thought/engineering goals, thoroughness, skill and clarity.

The team from Marine Academy of Technology & Environmental Science (MATES) in Stafford Township, Ocean County, won first place for the 11th-12th grade upper level competition, with a project titled: “The Effects of Coastal Angle of Elevation on Reflected Wave Energy.”

Shravya Jasti, a senior from Holmdel, N.J. who took home a couple of awards, wanted to find a cost-effective and simple way to clean contaminants from drinking water, for use in Third World countries - and she did.

“Bentonite Clay and Cation Exchange Resins were cheaper and more effective alternatives than charcoal to remove contaminants,” she said, noting that products such as Brita water filters utilize charcoal, but are too expensive for people in poorer countries.

Shirley Omari-Kwarteng, an 8th grader who took a prize home to Toms River Intermediate North, surveyed 6th-8th grade students and teachers at her school about their carbon footprints. One’s carbon footprint is a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the fossil fuels used in manufacturing, processing or transporting goods or services used by a particular person or group.

The amount of carbon used by taking a shower lasting 10 or more minutes racked up 80 points, while a shower of three-six minutes only took 40 points, she said. Eating beef cost 150 points, while eating chicken was 100 points and vegetables were only 20.

“Of course, the teachers and other adults were the worst,” Omari-Kwarteng said, since they drive cars and fly in airplanes more than students. She said she had talked a friend into taking shorter showers and eating more fresh foods after seeing her off-the-charts survey results. “She realized she should reduce her impact on the environment, so it had a positive impact,” Omari-Kwarteng said.

Lisa Mullings of Vineland has been judging the fair for six years. “It changes every year as far as the types of projects,” she said. She was judging environmental sciences for the junior level this year, and said, “You can get an idea from the kids how their families feel about such things as their carbon footprints.” She noticed a lot of projects involving local water quality and how it affects the soil.

“The caliber of the projects that I saw this year was just amazing,” said Dean Peter Straub, of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, who has been involved with the science fair for 43 years.

Cathy Jaggard, fair director for 18 years, said: “The Stockton JSSF has been recognized as one of the best in both quantity and quality of projects.”

First- and second-place winners from sixth through eighth grades will go on to the Delaware Valley Science Fair, to be held in Oaks, Pa., with judging on April 5. Students who have participated at the Jersey Shore Science Fair at Stockton have gone all the way to the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) and placed in previous years, according to Henry Disston, director of Delaware Valley Science Fairs, Inc. This year’s ISEF will be held in Los Angeles from May 17-19.

Stockton faculty, staff and students were among those participating in judging and helping to run the science fair in Stockton’s Sports Center.

For more information about the Jersey Shore Science Fair, visit