Greater N.O. Science, Engineering Fair puts STEM in spotlight _lowres

German chancellor Angela Merkel uses a microscope during the official opening of the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS in Halle, central Germany, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, pool) ORG XMIT: JME107

Do you know what STEM means? Either way, it’s time to put this whole science thing under a microscope and get a few lessons at the 60th annual Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering Fair, coming to the University of New Orleans Feb. 23-25.

About 400 middle and high school students from Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes will compete, but displays of their scientific inquiries also are open to the public for viewing from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday.

The fair encourages independent student research in science, technology, engineering and math.

Here are a few example of the topics, all from Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy in Marrero:

How can medical prostheses be improved based on specific accommodations and patients’ experience?

Marissa Nguyen, a senior, surveyed patients of a local company about their experience with a prosthesis. Based on her survey results, Nguyen designed two prostheses with a 3-D printer for two Barbie dolls. She will display the two dolls with her project.

What are the trends in lead emissions by major industries in Louisiana over time and space?

Senior Joye Pate used public databases to collect data on lead emissions by industries in Louisiana. The results are graphed and mapped on ArcGIS platform.

What type of system can schools nationwide use to evaluate use of green infrastructure?

Senior Kiara Horton examined her school grounds, made sketches and calculated the water-retention benefits of introducing green infrastructure into the landscape. She also surveyed students to determine what types of green infrastructure they wanted on their school grounds.

“We are committed to ensuring that students continue to pursue STEM careers and to promoting collaboration and interaction between area students, scientists and engineers,” said Annette Oertling, fair director.

The fair is open to any student nominated by their middle or high school within the designated parishes. More than $60,000 in cash and noncash awards, prizes, grants and scholarships will be awarded.

For information, go to