Four students participate in annual ECU Science Fair for visually impaired

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -It’s been two years since the Discoveries in Earth Science program at ECU has been able to hold its annual science fair due to the pandemic, however, it’s now back.

Young scientists were busy in the lab Thursday afternoon on campus as they geared up for the competition.

They’re all a part of the earth science program that allows visually impaired students to compete in scientific study, which ECU professor Dr. Rhea Miles says sends a positive message to the world.

“This project is showing that students with special needs, can do science,” Miles said. “They can see science, but just see it differently.”

The program is aimed at giving students in Eastern Carolina, a chance to learn earth science in a university setting.

This year, four students in elementary, middle, and high school joined for the chance to compete.

“For three out of the four students, this is the first time they’ve ever done something like this,” Miles said. “They’ve never participated in a science fair.”

Each of them put together unique projects and presented them to a panel of judges that consisted of ECU faculty and graduate students.

The students began working on their projects during a three-week summer program and have continued doing so over the course of the school year.

Grace Berry is one of the participants and her dad, Brandon says he’s just happy she wanted to be a part of something positive.

“To get her to take part in something where she can actually go hunt for fossils and do an actual science project,” Berry said. “I thought that was really cool.”

Miles says the four students have developed many skills when it comes to the field of geological sciences, which has led to their special projects.

Berry says he believes the group exemplifies what the average person may not be able to overcome.

“Probably a lot better than other kids without any type of special needs,” Berry said.

The student’s projects were judged based on data, research, statistics and other things that went into putting them together.

They will now prepare for the regional competition in February. One will take place in Nash County and one in Pitt County.