ShareThis Page
North Hills

North Hills teen hosting science fair for girls

| Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Alexis Mandell, 17, a senior at North Hills High School, is earning Girl Scouting’s highest honor — the Gold Award — through her project “Growing Girls’ ‘Roots’ In STEM” Science Fair.
Alexis Mandell, 17, a senior at North Hills High School, is earning Girl Scouting’s highest honor — the Gold Award — through her project “Growing Girls’ ‘Roots’ In STEM” Science Fair.

Alexis Mandell, 17, is earning Girl Scouting's highest honor — the Gold Award — by encouraging middle school-age girls to try their hand at science.

Mandell is sponsoring a science fair for any girl in grades 4-8. It will be held at the Zappala College Center at La Roche College on March 4. It is free, and award medals will be given for first-place, second-place and honorable mention, plus Best Overall for each grade level, as well as Best Visual Presentation.

“I love biology and want to study neuroscience in college,” said Mandell, a member of the WestPerry Service Unit Girl Scout Troop 51061 and a senior at North Hills High School.

“Sadly, girls are often shut out of much STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) because of the preconceived notion that science and math are for boys. As a result, women represent only about one in five people employed in the fields of computer science, mathematics, engineering and the physical sciences.”

Mandell chose to focus on girls in grades 4 through 8 because studies show that the middle school years are the time girls lose interest in STEM and also lose self-esteem.

“My goal for this fair is to create a safe space and a vehicle for girls to explore STEM and find out what interests them. I hope that it enables them to keep science as a part of their lives for many years to come and to have the resolve to follow their passion, whether that be in high school courses or even future careers,” she said.

The science fair allows participants to choose any topic related to biology, environmental science, or physical science.

There must be a scientific question, research, hypothesis, experiment, results and conclusion. Each project must be clearly presented on a display board for the judges to review. Participants also should be able to field questions from the judges. The only restriction is that no live animals can be utilized as part of the project displays.

“The fair allows girls to pick whatever they want to do. That way, they'll find it more enjoyable, and it will allow them to be creative,” Mandell said.

The panel of judges will consist of researchers, graduate students, and other experts in the field of science.

“They'll be looking for students' understanding of the basic scientific concepts and evidence that the student is genuinely interested and has learned something,” Mandell explained.

She hopes to register 40 to 50 students.

“I don't want it to be super huge because I want the girls to have individual attention with the experts,” she said.

Jan. 1 is the deadline to register. Projects are due on March 4. Rules and registration are available online at

“I think Lexi's Gold Award project is fantastic,” said troop leader Angela Arlia of West View. “She's not only raising the level of awareness for science, but encouraging young women to make a difference in the science world.”

Laurie Rees is a Tribune-Review contributor.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me