Ignacio Students Win at Regional Science Fair

February 28, 2024

32 students from Ignacio Middle and High Schools attended the San Juan Basin Regional Science Fair at Fort Lewis College. A handful of students joined the competitive portion of the event, like Sophomores Evan Perkins and Max Montoya. Judges awarded Montoya and Perkins third place for their A.I.-based voice recognition project. The fair is a collaborative effort to encourage learning and exploration through the scientific process. By Connor Shreve. This story is sponsored by Happy Pappy’s Pizza & Wings and Dunkin’ Donuts.

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Dozens of Ignacio students are reflecting on their experience at the Regional Science Fair at Fort Lewis College. You're watching the Local NEWS Network brought to you by Happy Pappy's Pizza n Wings and Dunkin' Donuts. I'm Connor Shreve. 32 students from Ignacio Middle and High schools attended the recent Regional Science Fair At FLC. Many created experiment displays and posters while a couple of teams entered the competition.

Our project was basically a voice recognition project using the Python code language and it's basically where it recognizes what you said, not who said it. Basically, when we run the program, you are going to say something into the mic and after a five-second window, it's going to stop and start interpreting the audio and recognizing it. And then what it's going to do is it's going to print that audio out and say it.

Sophomores Evan Perkins and Max Montoya accomplished their task by importing two separate libraries from a local source file.

One was called pyttsx3, which is the Python text-to-speech library. And then we import another library, which is the SpeechRecognition. We wrote code so that the SpeechRecognition library would take in the audio we'd say into the mic, and it would read it basically and gain text and letters from it to be able to print out like a statement of what you said.

The fair also included tours of the FLC campus.

So here they're able to see the Biology department, the Chemistry department, the campus tours, so it was just great for them to be on campus. They really were excited about the cafeteria. So I feel like they think, "Oh, I'm a college kid," and so like trying on that identity. Whereas, you know, maybe most Ignacio kids maybe aren't headed for college and this sort of maybe puts that bug in their ear, like, "Oh, maybe I am a college person."

Redman teaches three different sciences and projects spanned that range, including topics from wolf reintroduction, to fly fishing, and a LEGO catapult. Montoya and Perkins' project reflected their curriculum.

We're currently taking a coding class. Our first semester of this class of the year was dedicated entirely to Python, in which we did not learn the Python text-to-speech or voice recognition. We just learned the basic core blocks of Python, including making graphical user interfaces and basic text programs. And then we transition over to C++ at the end of the semester, and we'll likely go into Java.

Students answered questions from judges, defended their projects, and worked with volunteers from the Powerhouse Science Center. Montoya and Perkins earned third place for their voice recognition project. Learn more about these and other stories at durangolocal.news. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local NEWS Network. I'm Connor Shreve.


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