McGregor students bring home prestigious awards after competing at Texas Science and Engineering Fair

Published: Apr. 7, 2023 at 6:50 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A small school in Central Texas qualified 19 students for the annual Texas Science and Engineering Fair, and brought home three prestigious awards while competing against some of the largest schools in the state.

McGregor ISD brought home two second place medals, as well as a special award in which a student was presented with a $2,500 check.

Katy Evans is a science teacher and sponsor for the McGregor Junior High competitors.

“Texas had over 20,000 students start the science fair process this year hoping to make it to Texas A&M to compete at the state level,” Evans said. “Our students had to place really high at both local and regional fairs in order to compete.”

Katy Evans and Kendra Miller
Katy Evans and Kendra Miller(Courtesy Photo)

Science teacher Kendra Miller has been a part of the fair since it started in 2005 and says it grows bigger and better every year.

“This year, we started with 40 projects from sixth, seventh and eighth grade. 36 of those made it to our local fair, which is the MISD Junior High Science Fair, and 30 of those made it to our regional fair which is Central Texas Engineering and Science,” Miller said.

The junior high group then had 16 qualify for state pitting them against the best of the best across the state of Texas.

McGregor Junior High competitors
McGregor Junior High competitors(Courtesy Photos)

“They competed against 650 other junior projects from all over the state of Texas, which is really cool because they’re competing against some really big science schools that have a lot more resources, and it was really impressive to have our 16 make it,” Evans said.

Eight grader Gracelynn Singer has been working on her project for three years. She placed second in the animal science category for her project titled “Home Barn vs. Ag Barn.”

“This year’s project was trying to figure out if where the location of where you raise your animal affects its immune system, and I found that raising your animal at home helps it have a better immune system,” Singer said.

Singer said she loved getting the opportunity to meet judges and experts from across their scientific fields.

Mabry Miller and Gracelynn Singer
Mabry Miller and Gracelynn Singer(Courtesy Photos)

Fellow eight grader Mabry Miller also has a project three years in the making.

She placed second in the earth and environmental category for her project titled “It’s All Up in the Air! A Continued Study on Microplastics - Year 3.”

Mabry tested different air samples around Texas to find how microplastics are affecting human’s lungs.

“This was my third-year project over microplastics and I got to share my findings with different people there at science fair and also got to meet a ton of new people who were amazing to talk to,” Mabry said.

Sixth grade state qualifier Tyler George was chosen by SpaceX for a special award, which...
Sixth grade state qualifier Tyler George was chosen by SpaceX for a special award, which included $2,500.(Courtesy Photo)

Sixth grade state qualifier Tyler George was chosen by SpaceX for a special award, which included $2,500.

The title of his project in the category of physics and astronomy was “Who knows Rockets?”

“My project was a test to see if a nose cone would affect the height of a rocket,” Tyler said. “I found out that a bi-conic nose cone would actually make a rocket go the highest. My favorite thing about State Science Fair was probably getting to talk to professional judges in telling them about my project and different type of rocket nose cones.”

Evans and Miller say the science fair can open doors to future careers, noting that the school’s first science fair competitor in 2005, Stephanie Thompson, made it to the international competition in 2008.

Thompson is a genetic counselor at Baylor Scott & White in Temple today.

The Junior High is hosting a STEM night on April 20 to show of the projects of all students.

The three high school student state qualifiers were J.L. Singer, Jacob Singer and Kayleigh George. They were led by high school science teacher Debbie Schwake.