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By Jill Weber | Sojourn Philly | November 5, 2017

Sojourn Philly’s first annual Adult Science Fair was a rousing success! The event – in partnership with NextFab and the University City Science Center – was held on October 22nd at the PHS Pop Up Garden at UCity Square. This year’s theme was “Urban Sustainability” and we had six entrants with projects ranging from backyard vermiculture to global-impact ectomycorrhizal fungus innoculants.

Our participants (in alphabetical order):

  • Jonathon Cheng and Kimberly Goins – Project: Reclamation of City Greywater to Relieve Burden on Urban Water Demand
  • Mark Goldstein, Jordan Strauss, Zach Dahm, Chris Yerger – Project: Orchard, a self-contained home hydroponic garden that will allow anyone to grow vegetables quickly, easily, and organically
  • Kevin Huang – Project: Zero Waste using Vermiculture to Process
  • Dr. Carol Janerette and Dozie Mbonu – Project: Dr. Janerette’s Eco-Friendly Fungi, to sustainably solve agriculture, forestry, and environmental challenges.
  • Luciano Murta – Project: WaveBlock, a modular construction system to easily deploy temporary shelters for disaster relief and other structures.
  • Ryan Simms, Mahesh Patel, and Stephen Malkowicz – Project:  Vert Turbine, a patented wind turbine that takes advantage of existing infrastructure and composite materials to reduce costs by 70%.

Entrants displayed their projects to the public and to the judges. The public was asked to vote for a “People’s Choice Winner”, with the winner optionally receiving a bottle of either Blue Coat Gin or Penn 1681 Vodka, both made by local, Philadelphia Distilling. With over 60 votes cast for both 1st and 2ndplace, we had a tie! Congratulations to WaveBlock and Orchard!

Our judges winner – and the $1000 cash prize – went to Dr. Janerette and her Eco-Friendly Fungi. Congratulations!

The fair was inspiring to the public and to participants, alike – and not just to our $1000 winner!  Overall, participants and the public enjoyed several hours of viewing, socializing, and chatting about Urban Sustainability.

Participant Ryan Simms wowed audiences at the Fair, itself, but got even wider exposure for his project from the on-site visit by Justin Odu of Philly’s KYW station. Justin’s interview was heard on KYW 1060, and was also featured on CBS3. Find both – and more photos – here.

Luciano Murta, one of our “People’s Choice” winners, explained that he was happy to get feedback for his work, and summed up his fulfillment in participating on the Fair with a picture of a little girl playing with his Waveblock construction.

For Kevin Huang, talking with so many other people interested in science and urban sustainability proved inspiring for moving forward with his own future projects combining science and art.

Drexel University students Kimberly Goins and Jonathon Cheng presented their project on cost-effective (plans) to by funneling grey-water into non-potable uses at the household level. While they did not win a prize, Goins noted that, regardless, she was there to share her passion for urban sustainability. And that was a success!