DOINews: DOI Educational Partnerships Program: DOI Employees Participate in Science Fair at Ross Elementary School

Last edited 09/05/2019

On March 27, Department of the Interior employees served as judges for Ross Elementary School's Annual Science Fair. Students from first through fifth grade participated in the event. The Science Fair was coordinated by Daniel Markus, science teacher. The department participates in this event annually to expose students to careers and DOI professionals in the STEM fields.

Photos of DOI employees participating at partner-school science fair.

Department of the Interior volunteers pose for a photo on March 27, 2015, at Ross Elementary School's Annual Science Fair. (Photo at left, from left: Cecil Slaughter, OSM, and Kim Betton, USFWS.) (Photo at right, from left: Colleen Derber, NPS, Dr. Katherine Segarra, BOEM, and Kim Betton, USFWS. DOI volunteer not in this photo: Cecil Slaughter, OSM.) Both photos by Brenda Woods, DOI.

The department's representatives included Dr. Katherine Segarra, oceanographer, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; Cecil Slaughter, hydrologist, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement; Kim Betton, communications director, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Colleen Derber, staff assistant, National Park Service.

Department representatives judged second- to fifth-grade-level science projects. Each grade-level science project had an underlying theme: Projects from second grade focused on plants; projects from third grade, environment and pollution; projects from fourth grade, energy; and projects from fifth grade, reactions and particles.

The presentation of the science fair awards was held in each classroom and lead by Holly Searl, principal, Ross Elementary School, and Markus. Excitement filled each classroom as the names of the science fair winners were announced. The students were awarded certificates and medals.

“All of the students in this science fair are winners,” Betton said. “It's so valuable that schools like Ross Elementary engage students in exciting learning activities. These children are our future scientists, conservationists, and educators. ... To be there amongst their enthusiasm during the Science Fair was a rewarding experience.”

Segarra said, “I always enjoy elementary science fairs because young children are so curious and energetic about science.” I was very impressed with the students of Ross Elementary. The science fair projects were conducted as small groups, and the students worked really well together to present their experiments in a clear and methodical manner. They were so well spoken!”

“I so enjoyed learning all about the third-graders' science projects at Ross Elementary School,” Derber said. “The students did a fantastic job presenting their projects. Being a science fair judge was such a fun experience!”

Ross Elementary School is a public elementary school in Washington, D.C., that serves students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.

For additional information about volunteer opportunities, contact Brenda Woods at (202) 208-3617 or via e-mail at

By: Brenda Woods, program manager, Educational Partnerships Program, OS, DOI

May 12, 2015

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