Gambrills teen explores geology of Mars at Intel science fair in Kentucky


May 21, 2002|By Nancy Gallant | Nancy Gallant,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ERIN FREY, 15, of Gambrills was one of five students representing Anne Arundel County at last week's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Louisville, Ky. Erin's project, "Mysteries of Mars," explored the structure of the Red Planet.

Erin, a sophomore at South River High, studied the geological layers of Mars. The goal of her project was to determine if the layer thought to be the oldest surface of Mars was the oldest. Using elevation data sent from a National Aeronautics and Space Administration satellite orbiting Mars, Erin discovered an older surface underlying the layer that people had thought was the oldest.

She presented her science project at the South River High School Science Fair in the winter, then at the Anne Arundel County Regional Science and Engineering Fair, where she was one of five young scientists chosen for the fair in Kentucky.

In Louisville, Erin competed against more than 1,200 young scientists from around the world.

"Even though I didn't win, it was a great experience," she said. "I liked meeting other people who are like me, interested in science."

She met with other high school students looking into planetary geology. Their work was being done on the composition of Venus.

Erin has been interested in science since she was a little girl. Growing up, she loved listening to her parents talk about their work at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt. The world of space and astronomy fascinated her.

Her father, Herbert, suggested that she might like to visit Goddard and see firsthand the kind of work being done there. That is when she learned about the data being sent from the Mars satellite.

When she was a freshman, she learned how the satellite data could be used in geological research. That understanding of satellite data and her love for geology led to the project.

Geology and science are important to her. But her love for learning and exploring the world go beyond her science project.

Her favorite course this year has been Advanced Placement European history. She also is dedicated to dancing and performs with the Maryland Ballet Theater Company in Crofton. And she likes to volunteer at an after-school day care center program.

Next week, Erin will present the results of her research at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Washington.

Women's club meeting

The Four Seasons Women's Club will hold its final meeting of the season at 7:30 p.m. May 28 at Four Seasons Elementary School, 979 Waugh Chapel Road, Gambrills.

All women living in the neighborhood interested in working together to serve the community are invited to attend.

Information: Alberta Baker, 410-672-5219.

Schooling at home

Homeschoolers and people interested in homeschooling are invited to participate in a used curriculum sale and a panel discussion about organization from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at Our Lady of the Fields Roman Catholic Church in Millersville.

Information: Sam Fatzinger, 301-261-0303.

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