KWHS student selected for State STEM Fair



Science fairs are a way for students to share their experiments and projects with a larger audience, and Florida has been holding a state science fair for years, often referred to as the “STEM Fair,” which is an event dedicated to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Key West High School student Kirsten Haughey has received the prestigious recognition of going to the state science fair with her engineering project, a mobile shower. The State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida (SSEF) is taking place on March 27-29 at the Lakeland Center in Lakeland, Florida. Judging of the projects will be on the 28th.

“I thought that I had a chance in making it to regionals,” Haughey says, “but I did not think I have would the opportunity to compete in the State STEM Fair. I am honored that I do.”

Haughey explains about her winning project, “I created a transportable shower in which the water is heated by the sun.” She adds that her invention could have been helpful in post-Irma situations.  “After hurricanes, if people lost their showers or if the water is contaminated, you could fill up the portable shower before returning, so you have a drinkable source of water or a shower.”

Haughey came across this idea while the topic of personal hygiene was discussed in her science class, in addition to what she saw while on vacation in Costa Rica. “In AP Biology we were learning about pathogens and how you could become sick if you don’t keep up personal hygiene. One way is through the mouth because our hands carry antigens. When I visited Costa Rica in the past, many people used something similar for rinsing off at the beach, so I used the concept for hygiene.”

“I want to pursue a career that involves math and science because they happen to be my favorite subjects in school,” Haughey notes. For a high school student, she is well on the road to scientific success, as her project can attest to her skills in science and problem solving.

Photo provided

Kirsten Haughey tests her award-winning STEM Fair invention with the aid of her mother’s car on November 26, 2017. She says she first modified the shower by “adding a pressure valve, then a gasket to withhold the pressure within the tub.”