Army Trainers Judge Fourth Annual Local Science Fair Projects

By 1st Lt. Vanessa Dudley, 1st Battalion, 361st Regiment

EAST EL PASO, Texas – Seven Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 361st Engineer Regiment, 5th Armored Brigade and the 1st Armored Division teamed up to judge fourth annual science fair projects for 7th- and 8th-graders at St. Pius X Catholic School here.

“The Army has always been a great help with this event,” said Sarah Achondo, St. Pius Middle School science teacher. “They always have a good science background.”

Before starting, Achondo gave the judges the grading rubric and split into groups of three, each forming a panel. Students then presented their project to one of the judging panels. Students were expected to follow the scientific method and clearly present steps they took to complete the project.

Judges were able to grade a variety of science project categories such as behavioral, animal sciences, technical, and environmental science. Students were allotted several months to work on their projects and were able to answer the majority of the questions the judges posed.

Problems addressed by the students included topics such as the correlation between sleep and grades, eye color and the ability to see colors, or the effects of genetically modified organisms.

“It was impressive, the way the event was planned and orchestrated,” said Staff Sgt. Jesus Zambrano, a two-year observer-coach/trainer for Task Force Redhawk. “In my eyes, the event solidified the idea that students in today’s society need to have a heavy science background in their schooling.”

On the right, Tenoch Benitez and Pia Frare from Western Refineries work with Lt. Col. Patrick Hogeboom, commander of 1st Battalion, 361st Engineer Regiment, Task Force Redhawk, 5th Armored Brigade, to grade the science fair project of 8thgraders Veronica Martinez, 13, and Naomi Ramirez, 14, (left). Photo by 1st Lt. Vanessa Dudley, 1st Battalion, 361st Regiment, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West Public Affairs)

At the end of the day, winners in each category were announced and awarded with ribbons. An overall winner with the highest marks from the judges was also announced.

Other organizations such as Western Refineries, Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and students with science majors from the University of Texas at El Paso also served as science fair judges.

By 1st Lt. Vanessa Dudley, 1st Battalion, 361st Regiment