Watson Chronicle


Student Opportunities and Student News

IBEC Students Partner with CESTEM on Science Fair Videos

Friday, November 05, 2021

Isaac Bear students Eleanor Meinhold and Andres Valdiri have developed a series of videos to help students prepare for Science Fair. Eleanor is a senior and former president of the school’s Science Fair Academy, a student-run science mentoring club. Andres is a junior and the current SFA president.

“I competed in Science Fair for the first time in high school and my success empowered me to explore STEM as a career,” Eleanor said. “I began mentoring to help other students with that same realization and confidence. As a member of the SFA board, I realized that there is a real need for support, but few people to provide it.”

After consulting with Isaac Bear science teacher and SFA advisor Bryan Bishop, Eleanor reached out to Interim CESTEM Director Heddy Clark to explore ideas for a partnership between the SFA and CESTEM that would enable SFA to expand their reach and impact. One idea discussed was to create a series of short videos to share with schools, teachers and students.

Eleanor and Andres met with Bishop, Clark, CESTEM Program Associate Michelle Hafey and New Hanover County Schools STEM Specialist David Glenn to discuss the type of content to include and how to roll out the project, then wrote a script based on their own experiences and mistakes as Science Fair competitors and mentors. Isaac Bear senior Amelia Laursen, New Hanover High School senior Jacob Clements and UNCW film student Cate Richards assisted Eleanor and Andres with film production and editing.

The result is an eight-part video series that breaks down the Science & Engineering Fair process on a mentor-mentee level.

The videos have been shared on the CESTEM website, with LEAs who support the Southeast Regional Science & Engineering Fair, and with leaders of the NC Science Fair Foundation and the NC Science & Engineering Fair. The students have also presented the SFA video project to the STEM SENC Steering Committee, which is working on assembling a library of virtual content for STEM educators.

“The planning and execution of the videos is an impressive project, and I am proud of Eleanor’s and Andres’s genuine excitement and altruism when it comes to helping students find passion for STEM subjects,” said Frances Carter, IBEC Coordinator in WCE’s Office of Engagement, Professional Learning and Scholarship. “It is also a credit to the teachers who inspired Eleanor and Andres, and who modeled what great experiences can come of collaborative work. We thank our valued partners at CESTEM, UNCW’s film department, and WCE’s partnership schools for helping our students stoke excitement and create successful outcomes for the next generation of STEM learners across the state.” 

Click HERE to view the videos.

About the Science Fair Academy at Isaac Bear

Science Fair Academy was started several years ago by IBEC student Zane Dash (Class of ’20). SFA operates primarily as a STEM/Science Fair/Olympiad mentoring club in New Hanover County. This year about 30 students from Isaac Bear Early College High School are participating. 

In November, Bryan Bishop and the SFA received a $7,500 grant from the Landfall Foundation to support their mentoring initiatives with local schools. Funds will be used to assemble kits for elementary teachers to use to teach science in local area classrooms.

For more information about Isaac Bear, visit the website or visit the Isaac Bear Facebook Page.