Flowers and STEM

Overall winners for Navajo Nation Science Fair are both girls

Navajo Times | Ravonelle Yazzie
Kaylin McLiverty, a sophomore at Navajo Preparatory School, poses for a photograph at the Navajo Nation Science Fair last Thursday. Her project was titled, “Diabetes Biomarker Study on the Navajo Nation.”


She is only an eighth-grader but she is already using her scientific mind to help her community.

SLIDESHOW: Scenes from the science fair

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“I want people to know how clean their water is,” said Shelby Arviso, from St. Bonaventure Indian School, on her science fair project. Shelby’s project was titled “Tó be’ Iiná” or “Water gives life.” The goal of it was to discover which was the most effective way of purifying water.

The 14-year-old scientist was inspired to do the project for her community of Thoreau, New Mexico. “My main reason for doing this project was to get people aware of their (home’s) quality of water and what’s the best way to clean it,” Arviso said.

Her project won her first place in the environment science category and overall grand champion for the junior high division at the Navajo Nation Science Fair held at Red Rock State Park last week. “There’s so many people on the reservation who have to haul their water,” she said, “and that’s not the best way of life.”

For her project she used three different types of water – tap water from Thoreau, pre-filtered water and bottled water. She tested those for water quality and found, to her surprise, that the tap water had the best quality — a finding that went against her hypothesis. She thought the bottled water would be the purest. Then, she purified each water sample using three different techniques – boiling it, using a Brita water filter system and a homemade gravity filter.

Her hypothesis here was also proven false. She thought the Brita water filter system would be the best at purifying the water. “Boiling it was the most efficient way of cleaning it,” Shelby said.

Her experiment is now headed to the Arizona Science and Engineering Fair on March 22.

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Categories: Education

About Author

Pauly Denetclaw

Pauly Denetclaw is Meadow People born for Towering House People. She was raised in Manuelito and Naschitti, New Mexico. She was the co-recipient of the Native American Journalist Association's 2016 Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Reporting. Denetclaw is currently finishing her degree in multimedia journalism from the University of New Mexico - Main. Denetclaw covers a range of topics including genetic research, education, health, social justice issues and small businesses. She loves coffee, writing and being with her family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Her handle is @pdineclah