Six Winona Senior High students competed on Friday, February 20, at the 56th Annual Southeastern Minnesota and Western Wisconsin Regional Science and Engineering Fair held at Winona State University. This year’s fair was sponsored by the College of Science and Engineering at WSU. Students competed for ribbons and a variety of special awards, including trips to the state science fair in March and the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) to be held in May in Reno, Nevada.
WSHS was represented by four individual projects and one team project. Jean Leighton, a ninth grade student competed in the Behavioral and Social Science Category with her project entitled, “Consumer Behaviors in Teenagers”. Her project involved surveying over 300 high school students to determine the impact of brand name clothing on their spending habits. She compared boys and girls to see which valued the name brand more.
Albert Kim, WSHS junior” shared his project entitled, “Is the Moon Really the Earth’s Satellite?” Albert used a computer simulation and mathematical calculations to see if the moon really is a satellite of Earth or the sun.
Naeh Klages-Mundt, junior, continued his project from last year looking and cell freezing and thawing. His project entitled, “Freezing Tolerance in Saccharomyces cervisiae: Impact of Thawing Rate and Cryoprotectant’s to Ameliorate Cell Viability”, contained hundreds of yeast samples exploring different types of freezing solutions. He also looked at how the cells may survive under different thawing techniques. Naeh has attended the regional and state science fairs for the past five years.
Elaine Ayers, WSHS Senior entering for her sixth year in competition, completed a project in botany. Her project entitled, “Agroeconomics: Impact of Aged Sumac Leaves on Agronomic Seed Germination Rates” explored the biochemical effect that sumac leaves have on surrounding plants. Elaine has been working on the past three years with her strong interests in the plants growing on the Winona Bluffs and how the ecology balances life in our area.
The team project of Megan Hatfield, grade twelve, and Sam Miner, grade eleven, explored fertilizer type on growing bean seeds. Their project, Organic vs., Inorganic: Impact of Fertilizer Type on Bean Plant Growth and Development” explored the use of slow release organic fertilizer to common inorganic garden fertilizers. This ongoing project continues to surprise the researchers as some uncharacteristic results have shown the control plants to outperform the fertilizer groups. They are continuing to grow plants in the school to explore possible reasons.
All five projects competed in the project and paper competition. All receive blue ribbons and will advance to the Minnesota Academy of Science State Science and Engineering Fair on March 29-31, to be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Paul, MN. Jean Leighton and Elaine Ayers also advanced to the North Central Regional Symposium to be held March 28, in the same location as the state fair. Elaine Ayers and Naeh Klages-Mundt were chosen to represent our region at the International Science and Engineering Fair May 10-15 in Reno Nevada. Over 1200 projects from fifty countries will compete for the top prize in science fair, a $50,000 college scholarship. Jean Leighton was selected as the alternate to ISEF.
Other special awards were given throughout the evening awards. Naeh Klages-Mundt captured the US Navy/US Marine Corps Award. Albert Kim was honored with the Mu Alpha Theta Award in Mathematics and the Yale Science and Engineering Association Award for best use of computer science by a 11th grade student. Elaine Ayers was awarded the US Army Award, US Navy/US Marine Corps Award, the Bart Foster Environmental Science Award, Bird Song Award, Ricoh Americas Corporation Sustainability Award, and the US Metric Association Award.
The students have worked hard on showing the region that Winona Senior High School does great work in science. These students will continue their pursuit of solving their scientific problem as they now travel to the state and international science fairs. Congratulations on representing your school and our community as outstanding scientific citizens. Good luck in future competitions.