That was evident from the turnout Saturday at Shawnee State University for the 18th-annual District 14 Science Day, sponsored by the Ohio Academy of Science.
There was not a seat to be had in Flohr Lecture Hall in Clark Memorial Library for the awards ceremony conducted by Jeff Bauer, professor of geology, interim assistant provost at SSU, and judging chairman for Science Day. He was assisted by Judy Meeker, project director.
About 200 fifth- to 12th-grade students from Adams, Lawrence, Pike and Scioto counties converged on the SSU campus for the 14th District activities. There were 15 other district competitions that took place around the state and sponsored by the Ohio Academy of Science.
Science Day is the qualifying competition for students wanting to compete at the state level. More than 35 students were chosen Saturday at SSU to move on to state competition next week.
Last year, 31 students from the 14th District competed at the state level and earned awards of cash prizes and college scholarships totaling more than $118,000.
"Science Day gives students an opportunity to learn and practice the principles of scientific research, while developing their inquiry and problem-solving skills," Meeker said.
Bauer said students were required to give an oral presentation to the judges on their projects, write out a paper and do a critical analysis of data and information."
Meeker said about 75 people gave their time to judge projects and help in other ways.
"We pay them good money - zero dollars to be exact," Bauer said.
Area industries making financial contributions to help with the cash awards and pay the $55 State Science Day registration fee for qualifying students were United States Enrichment Corporation, Dow Chemical Company, Wendy's and SSU.
Some of the first-place winners included Marcus Potter, fifth-grade Life Science; Mikhaila Roe, fifth-grade Physical Science; Oliva Thoroughman, sixth-grade Life Science; Abigail Fuhrman, sixth-grade Physical Science.
Governor's awards for Excellence in Research went to Cassidy Fox, Natalie Elkins, Joshua Stewart, Sarah Mayo and Lauren Condo.
Winners in the grades 7-12 category for water quality and wastewater treatment were Laura Bailey, Jarred Quinlan, Janaki Pater, Destiney Spears and Jonathan Crace.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.