Three U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center employees journeyed beyond ATC's gates to judge a science fair at Chapel Hill Elementary School in Perry Hall, Md., on April 23.

Fourth and fifth graders from the school competed for top honors at the seventh annual Chapel Hill Elementary Science Fair. The students proudly displayed their projects and answered questions from other students, parents and the judges at the school's gymnasium.

Judges are volunteers from the community, especially the local scientific community of Johns Hopkins, Aberdeen Proving Ground, NASA and GM among others. This year, three of the 20 judges were from the ATC, one of the Department of Defense's key test centers where much of our warfighters' equipment is tested. Fifth grade teacher and fair organizer Anne Bloom stated that "when the students first learn that there will be judges who are scientists, engineers, researchers and other science-related professionals here at our fair, they are amazed and quite fascinated."

When the call went out for judges, Fabio Frisone, Bill Burch and Robert Stastny all jumped at the chance to help out. "I think it is essential to the future of the U.S. to put today's scientists in contact with the future of the sciences and the other students to give the correct impression of science in our daily lives," said Burch, a physical scientist.

This sentiment was echoed by Frisone, ATC's Deputy Chief Information Officer, who said, "It was an honor to be a part of such a worthwhile event. The children were so vibrant and squirming with anticipation to explain to us judges how they performed their experiments and what they learned. It was refreshing to witness a younger generation with such a thirst for knowledge."

The air was filled with nervous energy as the students prepared to present their projects to a team of judges. Fifth graders are required to create a science project for the fair, and while fourth graders are not required to participate, they can and often do.

Each judge interviewed 10 to 12 students and evaluated their projects. Each project was evaluated by two judges, and then the scores were tallied. The scores are then reviewed, and the top scores were chosen as winners.

The fourth grade and fifth grade first-place winners went on to the All-County Baltimore Science Fair held on May 14-15 at Randallstown High School.