CCCC Laser Club hosts inaugural event
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Daily Record Photo by Shaun Savarese. During the inaugural High School Photonics Science Fair at CCCC's ... (more)
By Shaun Savarese, The Daily Record of Dunn
LILLINGTON - The Central Carolina Community College Laser Club hosted the inaugural High School Photonics Science Fair at CCCC's Harnett Main Campus in Lillington.
Two $1,000 educational kits were awarded to two of the participating high schools, Jack Britt High School and Harnett County Early College.
Dr. M.J. Soileau was the science fair guest speaker. Dr. Soileau has been a professor of optics, physics and electrical engineering at the University of Central Florida for 30 years. He holds his doctorate in electrical engineering and quantum electronics from the University of Southern California and was inducted into the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame in 2016.
While at the science fair, Dr. Soileau reviewed the work of all the high-schoolers, including Harnett County Early College students Xavier Figueroa, Jeriel Matias, Octavia Harris and Natalie Ramirez.
"He noticed a mathematical error and told us how it could be fixed," said 15-year-old Octavia of Anderson Creek.
"He said our methodology was actually very good, but our calculations were a bit off," said 16-year-old Natalie of Cameron. "He told us how we could fix it."
Gary Beasley, Central Carolina Community College Laser and Photonics Technology lead instructor, was grateful for the attentiveness of Dr. Soileau, who "went to each science project and spent a lot of time talking to students ... having them explain and helping them learn more about what they did and what they were doing."
He referred to the evening as a "heartwarming experience" and called the professor, kind, warm and friendly.
"It was a huge turnout and very successful," he said.
Jack Britt High School students Leonee Brown, Shawn Healey, Rebecca Karis and Shane Hayward presented a project in which they attempted to determine the speed of light through water.
The teenagers used two, low-power lasers, aimed at varying angles through a tub of water, coupled with the scientific constant; the speed of light through air, to determine how fast light moves through water.
"We found that the angle doesn't necessarily change it," Shane said.
Mr. Beasley was thoroughly impressed with how many parents and educators showed up for Thursday night's event.
"The parents were proud," Mr. Beasley said. "We couldn't have been more pleased with the turnout and the presentation."
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