Next time you put your card into an ATM machine and type out your access code, you might want to wash your hands afterwards.
According to research done by Kamille Moise, a junior at Marist High School, ATM keypads and supermarket shopping carts contain the most germs.
This revelation came at the Marist quarterly scholars’ breakfast when Kamille Moise and Erika Maullion unveiled the projects that they will be bringing to the Hudson County Science Fair at the Liberty Science Center on Feb. 25.
Students involved with the Char Scholar program started their projects during the summer. A panel of educators evaluated them and picked two projects that would represent the school in the annual countywide science fair.
For Marist this is a big deal since only one student from the school has entered the fair in the last 20 years.
Christopher Cassaro said this is part of the school’s STEM [Science Technology, Environment and Mathematics] program, and that students who participated last summer presented their project to the panel from which these two were selected.
Cassaro said other students did a variety of projects that included studies on ears and hearing.
“They all worked hard,” he said.
Although located in Bayonne, Marist High School has a student population that includes kids from throughout Hudson County.
“I honestly can’t wait to go to the fair.” – Erika Maullion
The students selected to go to the science fair gave a verbal report about their projects at the Jan. 22 honors’ breakfast, which is held quarterly to celebrate students who have achieved a 91 or higher mark in every subject during the previous quarter.
Because of Hurricane Sandy, the first quarter’s breakfast had been cancelled, and 18 students from the first quarter joined 17 students from the second quarter to attend this breakfast.
Moise, a junior, said that like others, she started her program over the summer, but she didn’t expect to be chosen to represent Marist at the Science Fair.
“My project is about the amount of bacteria that exists on public surfaces,” Moise said.
In an investigative experiment, she collected and grew bacteria for the experiment.
“I chose bacteria for my project because I love microbiology and I’m hoping to pursue a career in biology or forensic science.”
She said she has been working to perfect her project since November in preparation for the Hudson County Science Fair, and feels confident going into the competition and would like to win first place. Moise said that even if she doesn’t win, she gained a valuable learning experience, and hopes to make Marist proud of her.
Maullion, a sophomore, said her project is about the DNA of fruits, and the two fruits she chose were strawberries and raspberries.
“I used a lot of house materials such as alcohol and dishwashing soap, and the DNA looked very gooey,” she said, declining to go into too much detail at a breakfast event.
“To be honest with you, when I got chosen for the Hudson County Science Fair, I was really bummed,” she said. “As a high school student, I didn’t want to get stuck with all the work that this would throw at me. Eventually I had to pick up my mood and work harder on this.”
As the project advanced, she realized it wasn’t as bad as she imagined it would be, and took interest in the project. She said she was amazed at how much she learned by doing it.
“It was a bit challenging at first, a lot of pressure was thrown at me,” she said. “I wanted to win, not just for myself, but for Marist, too.”
She said the project was about DNA and how the DNA of one fruit compared to the DNA of another.
When asked to present her project before the scholar breakfast, she got nervous, too, since she hadn’t met the criteria for being honored at the quarterly event, she said.
“I honestly can’t wait to go to the fair,” she said. “I want to see how other students worked hard for the same reason I do, to represent their high schools. I’m proud of what I’ve become, studious, hard working,” she said. “Hopefully, I’ll make the announcement I won the medals when I come back from the fair.”