Story by Superintendent Dr. David Leach,
Warwick Valley Central School District
Science has become a year-round activity for Warwick Valley Middle School seventh grader Evan Grundfast. Not only does Evan enjoy conducting labs and participating in the STEAM fair during the school year, he also continued his interest in science over the summer by participating in an Envision program at St. John’s University where he explored STEM and designing 3D models.
“I am very proud of Evan’s enthusiasm and the initiative he takes in researching additional information when performing labs and writing his reports,” science teacher Tracey Waters said. “Evan is inquisitive and shows good insight and understanding of many science concepts. Evan keeps me on my toes as he asks great questions, and contributes to every class discussion. I look forward to seeing what Evan will accomplish in the future.”
Evan has participated in the STEAM fair since third grade. Last year, in sixth grade, he was awarded first place for his investigation – “Testing the Strength of Nylon 6,10.” Evan said he received the inspiration for his project from Spiderman and his web, which can undergo a great amount of tension without breaking.
“I tested the weight holding capacities of Nylon 6,10 in order to see whether or not a stretchy, web-like material would be sufficient in supporting a large amount of weight for building infrastructure,” said Evan.
Before testing the Nylon 6,10, which Evan explained was a semicrystalline polyamide, he created the substance by carefully mixing sebacoyl chloride and 1,6 hexanediamine in a beaker. Evan says he enjoys participating in the STEAM fair because it improves his public speaking skills, allows him to conduct experiments and reinforces the importance of safety and using the scientific method when planning a good experiment.
Science and math are Evan’s favorite subjects, but when he is not in the classroom, he enjoys tennis (and just made the junior varsity team), karate (since he was five years old and is currently a ‘rank 2 black belt’), and plays the B flat clarinet (since fourth grade). He has also participated in many leadership roles including being a speaker for the fourth grade orientation and serving as a mentor to second and third graders during a summer leadership program.