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Aera in the Community Jan 13, 2022

Hoping for a normal science fair

Aera employee joins judging panel at Greenfield Union School District in Kern County’s first in-person science fair held in two years

Greenfield Union School District personnel kept their fingers crossed hoping that this year’s science fair would proceed as normally as possible for participants, and it seemed to work.

A student presents her project to Aera Project Manager Patrick Tsang, a volunteer judge for the Greenfield Union School District Science Fair.

A student presents her project to Aera Project Manager Patrick Tsang, a volunteer judge for the Greenfield Union School District Science Fair.

About 90 elementary through middle-school students presented their projects in-person to a panel of expert judges including an Aera Energy employee—masked and appropriately distanced following a cancelled fair in 2020, a remote event in early 2021. District administrators, teachers and employees from local companies including Aera Energy made up the panel.

“Our district employees and administrators have a great understanding of the scientific method and process but working professionals certainly have a greater knowledge of the actual science,” said Annika Bowser, an academic coach at Granite Pointe Elementary School, and coordinator of this year’s science fair. “Having companies like Aera step in and provide expert judges, elevates the importance of the event, and makes our students feel special knowing they have real scientists judging their projects, asking questions, and expressing interest in their projects. It is very beneficial to our students, especially those in middle school.”

Each of the district’s eleven schools brought up to 10 science projects to Granite Elementary School’s library for the competition. Students presented their projects to the panel of judges in person, and the top 12 winners move on to compete at the Kern County Science Fair in March.

“I really enjoyed serving as a judge for the science fair,” said Patrick Tsang, an Aera project manager. “I was impressed by the level of sophistication and depth that these students went into when creating and presenting their projects. This experience reminded me of when I was a student presenting my projects to a panel of judges. I hope my feedback and questions will spark their continued interest in learning and exploring science. Best of luck to those advancing to the Kern County Science Fair!”

“Some of these students will move on and do really big things,” Bowser said.

The school district sent a seventh-grade student from Ollivier Middle School to compete at the California Science and Engineering Fair in the 2018-2019 school year. She was the first student from the district to ever compete at the state level with her project titled “The Power of Memory.”

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DID YOU KNOW? Aera Energy is a three-time recipient of the Forbes America’s Midsize Employer List, placing ninth in the 2022 ranking and securing its spot in the top ten midsize companies to work for in the United States.

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