STEP Home Students in Action Portal (SIA) Portal About STEP STEP Alumni About CSTEP CSTEP Alumni Day of Service Calendar of Events
Students in Action Portal - STEP Conferences
STEP Conference Home
STEP Conference Home
Poster Competition Winners / Abstracts
. Biological/Life Sciences
. Human Services
. Physical Sciences
. Social Sciences
. Technology
Keynote Speaker Bios & Pics
Conference Schedule
Conference Planning Committee
STEP Action Channel
STEP Video Snapshot
STEP in the News
STEP Conferences
STEP Student Achievements
CSTEP Action Channel
CSTEP Video Snapshot
CSTEP in the News
CSTEP Conferences
CSTEP Student Achievements

Student Research Poster Competition Winners / Abstracts - Physical Sciences


Physical Sciences - 1st Place
Heavy Metal Contamination: A Novel Approach to Agricultural Phytoremediation
By Alex J. McManus & Pernelle Guerrier, SUNY Old Westbury

Arsenic is a slightly metallic, poisonous substance. Impoverished and underdeveloped countries, and some areas of the United States, have soils and other resources containing high concentrations of arsenic that are harmful. Access to a safe water supply is one of the most important determinants of health and socioeconomic development (Cvjetanovic 1986). The Pteris cretica fern, Diatomaceous Earth (DE), and Activated Charcoal (AC) were laboratory tested over a two week period for the ability of each to filter arsenic from drinking water. The materials were placed inside of filters built with 4-inch diameter PVC pipes that were secured with 2mm holed fiberglass mesh, according to assigned variables. All three filtering agents were placed to filter .1 mg/L of arsenic from an arsenic water solution; all three agents were placed to perform both individually and collectively. The variables placed in the 4 inch diameter filter filtered a larger amount of arsenic from the water; however, the smaller 1½-inch diameter filter, and 1½-inch diameter double mesh layer filter retained more water than its larger counterpart.

Physical Sciences - 2nd Place
Homemade Hydrogenerators!!!!! – An Efficient Way to Power Homes
By Arhea Marshall, Medgar Evers College

Hydropower is an alternative source of energy, and it reduces the need for mechanical energy sources. Energy sources we used today, such as fossil fuels, have not been harvested to full potential. To test the efficiency of hydropower with less electrical energy, a design for a low scale hydropower generator was assembled. A generator needs as little as two gallons of water and a two foot drop to generate an electrical flow. This energy can be utilized as far up to a mile from its generator.

This project developed a simple gallon-bottle base design for the main part of the generator; this was designed to function in a small-scale setting—like under a kitchen sink. Hydrodynamics, or the movement of water on various levels in the structure, will ‘fuel’ the output of the energy. This research and experimentation will prove that hydropower is an efficient alternative energy source by: (a) demonstrating its ability to be applied in designing residential structures; (b) showing that the operation of this generator is simple; and (c) helping to reduce the future impacts of human-induced climate change.

Physical Sciences - 3rd Place
A Simple Laser Microphone for Classroom Use
By Joshua Henry, Hofstra University

This paper will discuss the modern day method of eavesdropping using the modulation of laser light reflected from a window pane. The radio produces sound on the outside of the window, which causes vibration in the window glass. The vibrations in the glass pane cause the window to flex, changing the center of curvature of the window, thereby causing the focal length of the window to change (albeit very slightly). This creates a varying divergence in the reflected laser beam.

The variations in the energy density correspond to the original audio information coming from the radio. As a result, even small vibrations cause a measurable variation in the energy density of the light reaching the solar cell. The variation in energy density at the solar cell causes the voltage across the cell to fluctuate. The solar cell receives the audio information carried by the modulated light energy density and transforms it into a fluctuating voltage. This voltage signal carries the original audio information, and it is sent to an amplifier where it is amplified to a level that can drive the speaker. The reproduced sound is clearly recognizable as one being produced by the portable stereo system.


SENIOR DIVISON—(Grades: 11—12)

Physical Sciences - 1st Place
“Up, Turn, And Release!” Determining Optimal Conditions to Maximize Distance a Shot Put is Thrown
By Shanté White, Le Moyne College

The shot put event in the sport of track and field has evolved with the maturing of Olympic Games. The shot put is a combination of constant horizontal motion and downward vertical acceleration. In physics the shot put has many practical applications. From the time the thrower begins moving, to the time the shot hits the ground, physics can be applied.

This study seeks to compare how a non-experienced, and experienced, thrower can maximize the distance of their throws. Data was collected using three different throwing techniques. Analysis of data consisted of measuring throwing angles, different speeds at which the shot put is thrown, distance, and trajectory. This project is filling a practical gap in understanding the connection between throwing the shot put and physics, with desires of assisting athletes with improving performance. It is hypothesized that the angle, speed, and technique used to throw the shot put are the most significant factors in determining how one can maximize the distance at which a shot put is thrown. It is further hypothesized that optimal distance will occur when the athlete uses the spinning technique for throwing, and throws the shot at high velocity at, or near, a 45º angle.


Physical Sciences - 2nd Place
Aerosols in Jupiter’s Poles
By Akil Joseph, Medgar Evers College

Jupiter’s North Pole has a dark spot that was first seen by the Hubble Space Telescope in September 1997, and again by the Cassini space craft on its way to Saturn in 2000. This research will look at Jupiter to obtain clues about the composition of aerosols in the North Polar Region; it is believed that aerosols created the dark spot. Aerosols are either solid or liquid particles suspended in gases produced by man (Anthropogenic), or through natural processes. An example of a man made aerosol is the burning of fossil fuels that produce smoke in our atmosphere. Examples of natural aerosols are dust storms or ashes from volcanic eruptions.

Jupiter has its own heating system in its core, and it has a similar chemical make up to the Sun. Knowing certain characteristic about Jupiter enables more learning about the sun and the creation of the solar system. Jupiter is an interesting planet with a large magnetic field that produces an aurora that is believed to be responsible for the creation of the aerosols on Jupiter.



Site powered & created and Technology Users Interface, Inc.
All content therein on is organized by NYS STEP & CSTEP Programs. Copyright © 2009-2010. All Rights Reserved.
Find a STEP or CSTEP Program.