Students from around the Northeast participated in a GLOBE science fair March 11, hosted by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The students’ projects focused on Earth science as part of the GLOBE program, a worldwide science and education initiative that connects students, teachers and scientists from different parts of the world to conduct hands-on science about their local environments. GLOBE gathers all the data to add to our understanding of the global environment. NASA is the lead agency for GLOBE in the United States.

“When the students work on their projects, they have some idea that they are contributing to something bigger,” said Larisa Schelkin, president and founder of the Global STEM Education Center in Needham, Massachusetts. “But when they come to an event like this and engage with their peers and working scientists, they can see just how important their role really is.”

Scientists and education specialists from Goddard and NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, served as judges for the science fair. Twelve teams of students ranging from middle school to high school competed in the science fair. Their projects covered topics such as water quality, soil erosion and the atmosphere.

An all-girl team from Morristown-Beard School in Morristown, New Jersey, analyzed ice coverage on the Great Lakes using images from GOES 13, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather satellite.

“I think this event is a really great opportunity,” said Renee Dorwart, a junior at Morristown-Beard School. “We go to a very small school and the class offerings are limited. So, having something like this opens us up to science and gives us an idea as to whether we want to pursue a career in STEM.”

A team of three high school seniors from Mahopac High School in Mahopac, New York, tested the effects of road salt on water quality in a local stream that contributes to the town’s supply of drinking water. As seniors, they all said they plan to major in STEM fields in college.

“I’d have to say it was my sophomore chemistry teacher who inspired me to pursue science,” said Gabriel Burchett, a Mahopac senior. “Getting to participate in an event like this helps me prepare for college and get excited about science.”