Eighth grade science students shine at Europe symposium

Sheri Byrd
Contributing writer

Eleven KMC middle school students spent four days immersed in science at the Europe-Junior Science and Humanities Symposium at Patrick Henry Village in Heidelberg Feb. 28 to March 3. The symposium is a national-level competition sponsored by the departments of the Air Force, Army and Navy.

The competition hosted 115 middle and high school students, from Department of Defense Dependent Schools across Europe, in presenting their own scientific research and experiments.

“They also get to meet scientists from many different fields, who come to talk about their work, and what kind of education it takes to do it,” said Ken DaVault, E-JSHS director and Ramstein American Middle School seventh-grade science teacher.

Eighth-graders Collin Barclay and Zachary Byrd of RAMS placed second in the junior oral presentations category, sharing a $75 prize. The students’ research project was “It’s All in Your Head,” a study of the use of biofeedback on the academic performance of algebra students.

“Coming to E-JSHS was the best thing this whole year,” said Zachary.
“It’s so cool to talk to lots of other kids my age about science.”

RAMS seventh-grader Erik Puesy placed second in the junior poster presentations category, also worth $75, with his research on “Probabilities of Different Poker Games.”

At the senior high level, the top presenters won prizes in the hundreds and thousands of dollars, and five of them will proceed to the national competition in Albuquerque, N.M., in April.

“When these kids go to nationals, the college and research company recruiters are all over them,” said Mr. DaVault. “They are our country’s future scientific assets, and they get the royal treatment.”

Other KMC-level winners who competed in the E-JSHS oral presentations were RAMS seventh-grader Andre Porterfield and Kaiserslautern American Middle School eighth-grader Kyle Werstein. In posters, KAMS eighth-grader Neil Mooney and RAMS seventh-graders Eric Breznai, Sara Carriker, Lillie Covington, Nicolas Plante, Erik Puesey and eighth-grader Amanda Vane presented their research.