Jennifer Cresap was a 7th grader in the Fairmont Historic Anaheim Campus Private School in the 2015-2016 school year. She was a first place Junior Division winner in the Pharmacology category in the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair. Her project title is “Planaria: The Race to Regenerate.” In this project, Jennifer investigated the effects of aloe vera and caffeine on the regeneration of various species of planaria (flatworms).


While researching various projects, Jennifer became intrigued by the impressive regeneration powers of planaria. She proceeded to test their regeneration properties using different chemicals. With these experiments, she discovered what helped and hindered the regeneration of planaria. Jennifer hypothesized that planaria would regenerate at a faster rate if aloe vera was added to a planaria’s surroundings rather than caffeine.


As mentioned before, the two chemicals that were tested were aloe vera and caffeine. After cutting the planaria samples in half, she observed the time it took for the organisms to regenerate. At the end of the project, she discovered that aloe vera did not only speed up planaria regeneration, but also increased the health of the planaria. It was also observed that caffeine ended up killing off the planaria.


Jennifer ran into several obstacles in the process of her project. Cutting the worms proved to be quite the challenge, as well as documentation of the project process through pictures.


She especially enjoyed the judging experience at OCSEF, as the notion of sharing her findings with like-minded people was very exciting. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys debate and reading books.