This is a three-year story about Luke Johnson. It all started in 5th grade with Luke and his chickens. Luke wanted to see how a chicken’s diets would affect their egg production. He compiled his information for 60 days and monitored the number of eggs each chicken produced and how their diets affected their behavior as well. Luke’s entry at the Mastodon Science Fair earned him $100 savings bond, Mastodon Gallery Winner, most likely to become a Scientist Award, First Place 5th grade Animal Sciences.
Now in 6th grade, Luke wanted to do even better. But how do you do better than 1st Place. Luke decided to study different modes of eggs storage over a 60-day period. His modes of storage were Refrigeration, Water glass, dry shelf and sawdust. Throughout history all these modes have been used since the earliest recorded time. This presentation at Mastodon Science Fair earned Luke the Broadcom Masters Award in addition to many others. This opened several doors for Luke to continue his interests in S.T.E.M. related studies.
Luke was recommended by his sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Sarah Brammer, Hodge Elementary, to be selected as a possible candidate for The Envision STEM Experience and National Youth Leadership Student Forum. After receiving his formal invitation, Luke applied for a position and was excepted. Luke completed the Envision STEM Experience at Bowling Green University at Bowling Green, Ohio this July. During his course of study, Luke was introduced to Dr. Don Thomas who was the Chief Scientist at ISS International Space Station and has also been part of 4 Space Shuttle Missions. Luke is presently working on a design for MARS structures for Astronauts/ Cosmonauts to live in during the visit to the red planet.
Luke is interested in a career in Biochemistry/Engineering that focuses on further development of producing a sustainable living environment on Mars. Included is a picture of Dr. Don Thomas and Luke at the Envision STEM Experience. Luke attends 8th grade at Seckman Middle School this fall and is 14 years old. Oh, and Luke loves Math and Science!
Luke’s project from 6th grade was not recommended for the Mastodon Fair but his teacher suggested we enter it regardless of what the school decided and so we did.
As a result, Luke received the Broadcom MASTERS Award and decided to compete Nationally. He entered all his information onto the Broadcom MASTERS Website and in a matter of months was awarded the Top 300 in the Nation and Top 150 male students in the Nation. We are very proud of our son’s accomplishments and will continue to support the Mastodon Science Fair as Judges and sponsors. “This is a fantastic place for young students to show their creativity and passion for Science and Art.”
Andy & Paula Johnson (Submitted in August of 2018)
Chris was a Junior when he first entered the Science Fair. He was stunned when he was called in for the finalist interviews and, when told he should dress in good clothes, said his best was clean blue jeans. He didn’t own any dress clothes. Chris won and willingly accepted coaching to help prep him for the International Science and Engineering Fair competition. When he arrived for coaching, his family of five, one grandparent and one uncle all arrived too, and asked if they could sit quietly and watch the coaching. There was an immense pride in their faces. For two hours, Mom, Dad, and the entourage watched and listened. After talking with the family, they all took the hour drive up together because it was the first time anyone in their family had won such an award. His parents said they would figure out a way to get new charts done, get Chris some dress clothes and would help him practice his speech.
At the next meeting, every change was done, his speech was rehearsed, and his little sister proclaimed she listened the “mostest times” of anyone. His grandfather bought him his first suit and dress pants to go with his first plane trip. Chris announced he was going to attend Jefferson College. His parents beamed that he would be the first family member to ever go to college. When asked Chris if he wasn’t already planning to go to college and he responded, “No, I never thought I was smart enough. When I won the top award at the Mastodon Fair, I thought that I must be, so why not try.”
When Chris was a Jefferson College student, he told us of his dream to become a business manager and get his bachelor’s degree. He was working his way up the ladder at retail locations and “would someday own his own business.” When asked if two years ago did, he think he would be in college, on his way to making his dream happen. His answer is the reason Chris said, “Deep down I knew I could, but winning the Fair made me believe in myself enough to try.” Chris has since graduated from Jefferson College with an Associates degree in Business and has finished his bachelor’s degree while managing a restaurant. He said that every day he still draws upon the public speaking skills he learned, the experience of dealing with different cultures, and the research skills that he learned during his years of participation in the Mastodon Fair. Chris has also become a role model for his younger siblings. His 5-year-old sister announced so very proudly, “I am going to go to college just like Chris did!” Changing student’s lives by encouraging the art in science and the science in art is what the Mastodon Fair is all about!
I want to congratulate the Mastodon Fair on being the greatest art and science fair for 30 years! The Mastodon Fair taught me some great lessons in the 12 years that I spent entering projects in the fair. I learned to work hard and give my best – building year after year on my knowledge and talent. Art projects are hard! “Through all the frustrations, I learned perseverance and dedication with my projects.” The Mastodon Fair and its staff gave me something to look forward to every year! The Mastodon Fair is such a wonderful learning opportunity. I encourage all students to participate!
I have always had a passion for science and am fortunate to be pursuing it as my career. One thing that helped me develop my love for science was the opportunity to take part in the Mastodon Fair. The experience allowed me to begin understanding everything that goes into setting up/conducting experiments, interpreting data, and writing up my results.
I have been able to take that basic knowledge I learned from the fair and use it to build upon through the rest of my education. “I am now pursuing my Ph.D. in microbiology and am grateful for the opportunity that the Mastodon Fair provided me with to begin practicing science early.”
Maggie (Christ) Schlarman (Doctoral Candidate, MMI/Vet Path, GPC State Issues)
What an extraordinary experience it was, to face off with the greatest young minds, the leaders of tomorrow, and the solutions to today’s science and technological problems, and at such a young age to be immersed in the intensely driven society of academic and industrial pursuits to the betterment of our small but complex world. The ISEF fairs helped me to realize and achieve my dreams through early, intimate experience with scientific and engineering methods. All things being relative, I’ve come a long way since 2003.
“This is no drill or exercise, your local science fair is a real opportunity, a launching pad and catalyst for success.”
I’ve received my B.S. in Computer Engineering at Missouri S&T (formerly UMR), spent a year in the industry, five years on a Formula SAE Racing team designing innovative electronics for high performance vehicles, researched a new method for the detection of low power electronic devices for the use by the armed forces and received my MS in Systems Engineering. I was a system engineer for Mark Andy, Inc., and designed a way to have machines use the internet to do all the business processes (called web flexography) normally done on-site. I am still utilizing those skills in my currently position.
This is no drill or exercise, your local science fair is a real opportunity, a launching pad and catalyst for success. What an extraordinary experience it was, to face off with the greatest young minds, the leaders of tomorrow, and the solutions to today’s science and technological problems, and at such a young age to be immersed in the intensely driven society of academic and industrial pursuits to the betterment of our small but complex world. The ISEF fairs helped me to realize and achieve my dreams through early, intimate experience with scientific and engineering methods.
Jake Hertenstein (Mastodon Fair Board Member 2010-2021)
I really enjoy doing this (judging). After winning a scholarship for a first place Microbiology project and the presentation of it, I know how important these can be for students. Not to mention STEM careers are the future. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t enjoy being a scientist and continuing to learn.
It was a pleasure and I hope they (the students) will get to see my feedback. I started doing my research in the Science club when I was a junior and elaborated on that experiment in my senior year to win. I came from a poor family and could have never afforded college without that scholarship. I remember crying when I received the phone call.
“What we know is a drop, what we don’t know is an ocean.” Isaac Newton
Kaddie Vance (Science Judge, 2021)