Maryville Junior High student sets school record in science fair
By Matthew Stewart | (email@example.com)
A Maryville Junior High School eighth-grader has set school history.
Erin Grimm, daughter of Hoy and Lisa Grimm, recently won the Southern Appalachian Science and Engineering Fair’s behavioral and social sciences category and placed second overall in the junior division. It’s the best finish in school history.
Grimm is eligible to compete in the national competition. She plans to complete an application process in an effort to secure one of the 30 finalist spots.
“I’ve been here eight years, and I’ve never had a project this unique,” said teacher Jessica Clark. “Judges are looking for something like it. She’s got a really good chance of going (to the national competition). It’s definitely not the norm.”
The eighth-grader’s project, which was titled “Maximizing Retail Profit: Gangnam Style,” addressed consumer biases. She spent a month conducting research, reading Dan Ariely’s “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decision” and numerous research papers from Stanford University and University of Michigan. The eighth-grader’s father helped locate research materials and reviewed each paper’s arguments with her.
Grimm produced and distributed two product flyers — a control flyer with product prices and a second flyer with additional product information, such as editor’s choice, reduced price and free scarf with the purchase of a T-shirt — to adults and children. She then asked them to answer several questions, including the two best products and two worst products.
Grimm discovered that the flyer with additional information increased sales by 171 percent. “They weren’t even much better deals. They only saved $3 on the T-shirt.”
During the recent Southern Appalachian Science and Engineering Fair, the eighth-grader was required to defend and explain the project. She met with nine event judges.
“I was very nervous at first,” Grimm said. “It’s tough getting judged, but I got used to the questions after awhile. I was able to answer a lot of different types of questions by relating them to real life.”
She was also honored to win second place. “I found out that my hard work can pay off. It’s also nice to win and make school history. I’m glad that I’ve set the bar higher for future students. I’d like to see Maryville become a powerhouse and hear other students talking about their desire to beat us.”
“She’s been very humble about this whole thing,” Clark said. “She hasn’t wanted to admit that she’s a studious, smart girl.”
Eight students receive awards
All eighth-grade honors students worked on the project between September and January, she said. They completed work at home, turning in assignments along the way.
Maryville Junior High School sent 12 students to the Southern Appalachian Science and Engineering Fair, Clark said. Eight students received some sort of prize.
“I always tell the kids that being smart and doing the right thing pays,” she said. “After the science fair, she (Grimm) told the kids, ‘It actually does,’ and showed them her check.”
Grimm received $125 for winning second place. She’s currently considering whether to compete next year, as senior division champions win a $1,000 scholarship to the college of their choice.
The eighth-grader is already considering her college options.
She would like to major in interior design, marketing or economics at the Savannah College of Art and Design or Stanford University.