Florida AFA Chapter Recognizes Sarasota STEM Fair winners

June 3, 2019

June 03, 2019

Florida AFA Chapter Recognizes Sarasota STEM Fair winners


Three students from the Sarasota area were recently singled out for recognition by the Florida West Coast Chapter of the Air Force Association (AFA). The awards were presented on March 11 at the awards ceremony for the Sarasota Regional Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Fair.

Max Schoenfeld, a student at Sun Coast Poly Technical High School, was honored for his Space themed project, “Correlation of Height and Viewing Distance on Different Planets.” For the project, Schoenfeld calculated the distance to the horizon (viewing distance) for all of the planets in the solar system as well as two notional planets. He investigated how varying the height of the viewer would also affect the viewing distance. The relevance of his work is reflected in the design of planetary explorers such as the Mars Rovers “Curiosity” and “Opportunity.”

“I had an amazing time at my very first science fair and discovered there are a lot of new concepts and subjects to explore,” Schoenfeld said. “The coolest, most exciting part was watching an Air Force colonel read, evaluate, and love my space project.”

The middle school division was very competitive, and the chapter opted to recognize two students. The first middle school honoree was Jacqueline Anders, an eighth-grader at McIntosh Middle School. Her project, “Sunshine On My Solar Makes Me Happy,” investigated how the positioning of solar panels relative to the sun affected the power output of the array. Her project won first place honors in the Eighth Grade Earth and Environmental Sciences category and was named as a Student Choice Award winner. Anders’ work was also selected for recognition by the Broadcom Masters and was one of two Middle School projects selected to represent Sarasota County at the Florida State Science and Engineering Fair.

Robert Bowden, another eighth-grader from McIntosh Middle School, was the chapter’s second middle school honoree. His aeronautics and mathematical based project, “Flying Higher,” investigated the lifting capabilities of three different sized drones and included a complex mathematical regression analysis to test the variability of his data. His project was also named the first-place winner in the Eighth Grade Mathematics and Computational Sciences category.

Chapter President Mike Richardson presented Schoenfeld, Anders, and Bowden with the “Dr. Y STEM Achievement Award,” an AFA Achievement Medal, a 2019 Air Force Association calendar and a $50.00 cash award. Schoenfeld and Anders also received a Smithsonian publication, “Universe, The Definitive Visual Guide.” Bowden received a Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum publication titled “Milestones of Aviation.”

The “Dr. Y STEM Achievement Award” is named in honor of Dr. Michael Yarymovych, an Osprey resident and a member of the Florida West Coast Chapter. Dr. Yarymovych served as the Chief Scientist of the Air Force from 1973 to 1975.

The Florida West Coast Chapter of the AFA is the newest chapter in the state of Florida. Established in 2011, it is comprised of approximately 270 members living in Sarasota and Manatee counties.