After competing at the District Science Fair where he earned the GE Special Award for Engineering, senior Owen Lawler presented his “Freeze Thrower” prototype at the State Science Fair and earned an Excellent rating.
Owen’s freeze thrower is a handheld machine that will safely spray liquid nitrogen to freeze an object. After each science fair competition, he updated and made improvements to his prototype based on judges' feedback. Owen continues to run tests and experiments and expects to have a working model by the end of this year.
Owen originally came up with the idea in middle school and revisited the topic again when his class began talking about the science fair last year. He initially feared he would be told to pick something more practical, but he was pleasantly surprised by his teachers’ reactions.
Owen said, “I could not have done this project without my teachers’ guidance on what to do and what not to do, and once I knew I had their support, I became much more committed to the project.”
This project, paired with a project for his engineering class, has sparked Owen’s interest in working with robotics for prosthetics as a future career. His engineering class developed a wheelchair lift for a nonprofit called May We Help. Since then, he has arranged a shadow experience with the Hanger Clinic, a prosthetics and orthotics care facility.
Science teacher, Mrs. Chrystel Wells, said, “He is doing amazing things!” As a thank you for her guidance, Owen recently built a Rubens tube for her to use in class. A Rubens tube, also known as a standing waves tube, is a physics apparatus for demonstrating acoustic standing waves.
Ms. Mary Dennemann, Science Department Chair, said, “Every aspect of our lives intertwines with science in one way or another. Science fair is one opportunity for students to use the scientific method to explore and test a particular topic that has real meaning for them. We are thrilled that Owen’s passions have been fueled by this opportunity.”
Five of Owen’s fellow classmates, Julia Cheek, Colin Koran, Megan Longmore, Lila Moeves, and Tyler Munzel, also presented at the District Fair at the University of Cincinnati. Lila Moeves was awarded $100 from the Southwest Ohio Water Environment Association and Megan Longmore won $100 for Excellence in Public Health.