In-Depth Look at 2019 Science Fair with Adalyn Schommer

Winners of the annual 2019 science fair at SHA.

The 2019 Science Fair was a huge success this year! The projects gave an outstanding representation of how brilliant the girls at SHA are. It was clear the students dedicated a lot of time and effort to their research. The projects were very detailed and fascinating. They looked as if professional scientists had created them! Special congratulations to all the girls who placed and will move on to the Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair (CSEF) at Quinnipiac University.

Adalyn Schommer, a junior, took part in the science fair this year for a third time. Adalyn was kind enough to spend her time answering some questions about her project and the science fair process as a whole. Adalyn looked at gene expression levels of the APOE gene, which has roles in moving lipoproteins in cells, cell signal transduction, and clearing out plaques in the heart and brain, in patients with certain types of cancer as well as Alzheimer’s disease. Since Adalyn has already participated in the science fair two other times, I asked her how this project differed from her previous ones. Adalyn says, “This project was based on clinical data gathered by professional researchers that was published in the Georgetown Database of Cancer. While I usually gather my own data and then analyze the results, this year, I was able to focus on analyzing the data and the statistical significance of the data.” This topic sounds like it took a lot of researching and organization along with time and effort. Adalyn shared why she took an interest in this topic by explaining, “I did some research over the summer, looking at the correlation between sleep trouble and depression. I wanted to continue doing research on sleep and so I decided to look at the correlation between how much sleep a person gets per night and their risk for high cholesterol. After doing that, I looked at genes involved in sleep and cholesterol and that is how I found APOE.”

Adalyn Schommer pictured receiving a different award for an essay about women in STEM by the American Heart Association.

There is so much involved in doing the whole project yourself. A person who is willing to put in all the time and effort to make sure everything she researches is accurate and relevant, is obviously devoted and takes science seriously. Adalyn shows the traits of a devoted aspiring scientist. Adalyn told me her favorite part of the science fair, “My favorite part of the science fair is seeing all of the interesting projects that girls come up with.” As mentioned before, there is a lot of work that goes into this. Adalyn’s project sounds brilliant. There had to be something that she found was difficult or frustrating in making this intricate development. Adalyn says, “The hardest part of my project was learning how to code and use the database because that style of research was so new to me.” Of course, everyone struggles in school, and in life, no matter how smart they are or how dedicated they are to their work. Adalyn gives some advice to future girls at SHA who want to take part in the science fair, “I would tell girls to bounce some ideas off of their friends or classmates; sometimes the best ideas come from the girl sitting next to you!”

As lengthy as this whole process seems, all the hard work and time you invest is totally worth it because the result is a truly amazing project. Adalyn’s hard work definitely shows. It is all about having fun, learning new things and trying different methods when learning and researching just as Adalyn did this year for her project. Hopefully, all the girls who participated in the science fair this year, have learned something new or inspired someone else to try something outside of their comfort zones. There will definitely be more inquisitive students at SHA, who have the passion to conduct outstanding research, that will continue SHA’s science fair tradition.