Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Students' science fair project wins national engineering contest

Students' science fair project wins national engineering contest
David Campeau and Spencer Berglund are juniors at Mayo High School and are participating in this year's Rochester Science Fair with a project that measures eye movement. The pair have constructed several control boards for the project that could have applications helping physically challenged people use computer and other electronic devices by allowing eye movement substitute for mouse and track pad use.

Rochester has achieved another first in the area of high school science contests.

Mayo High School students Spencer Berglund and David Campeau took first place at a national science competition, the most recent in a string of achievements for area students over the past two years.

It was the first time, as far as anyone can recall, that a pair of Rochester students won top honors at the National Junior Science & Humanities Symposium, a national research contest last Wednesday through Sunday in Bethesda, Md. The contest brought together hundreds of the sharpest science students from across the country. Campeau and Berglund, both Mayo juniors, won in the contest's engineering division.

The Mayo duo developed a computer interface that allows a computer user to manipulate and track a cursor with the human eye rather than a hand-held mouse. Among its different applications, the invention would give paraplegics and people who don't have use of their arms greater access to technology.

"This is huge," said Roger Larsen, a Kellogg Middle School science teacher and former director of the Rochester Regional Science Fair. "It speaks again of the pool of students that we have in the community."


Berglund and Campeau will share $12,000 in scholarship money to attend a university of their choice. They also earned an all-expenses-paid trip to England to compete in the London International Youth Science Forum from July 27 through Aug. 10.

Berglund said neither of them expected to win the engineering category of the contest, "even less so after we gave our presentation." It involved a 12-minute talk by Berglund, followed by six minutes of questions from a panel of Ph.D judges. At one point, a judge asked a question that stumped Berglund, forcing him to do some quick calculations.

"I didn't really know the answer to it, but I made up an answer on the fly. And then I explained how I was making up the answer in the process," said Berglund, who is a day away from his 17th birthday.

The answer apparently didn't harm the team's chances.

Berglund said an often-overlooked aspect of science contests is the opportunity to meet with other students and see how their projects have evolved. And lucky for him, more contests are on the horizon for them.

The two earned the right to go to JSHS and represent their region after winning a tri-state competition involving Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. They and four other students from John Marshall and Century high schools go to Pittsburgh on Saturday to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

The triumph was the latest for Rochester science students. Last year, they returned with so much hardware from an international science fair that Rochester was ranked No 2 globally in terms of its performance.

Berglund said he and Campeau are working on a new project but was tantalizingly vague about it.


"We've done rough calculations. Technically, it can be done," he said. "That will be revealed in the future."

What To Read Next
Get Local