The Odessa Record -

By Jeffery Wehr
Odessa HS science teacher 

Odessa shines at regional science fair

 

March 16, 2017



Kennewick, WA – After an eight-hour day of continually presenting their research to experts in the field, the student scientists from the Advanced STEM Research Laboratory at Odessa High School exhibited their academic prowess in science and engineering at the Mid-Columbia Regional Science and Engineering Fair on Thursday, March 9, 2017. Over 100 high school student researchers represented the finest scientific minds vying for top prizes in STEM-related categories.

There are three rounds of judging, each round with more and more difficult questions to answer regarding their research from the judges in each category. As in other competitions, in science you are eligible to earn a first place in a particular category, such as environmental biology, physics or computer science. But unlike other competitions, all of the first-place awardees are pitted against one another to earn overall prizes for the entire science fair.

Instead of having many students advance to the International Science and Engineering Fair, these students must present their research better than all of the other first-place winners until there is only one (or sometimes two) Grand Award. Only a handful of students represent each state, and many times our Odessa students are competing against one another for the overall Grand Prize. All of the students’ research was incredible and earned the following levels of recognition for their dedicated efforts:

Cole Kissler

- “Production of Bioethanol from Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Wheat Straw using Pulsed Electric Field Pretreatment”

- 1st Place Overall, Senior Division, Kennewick, Wash.

- 1st Place, Senior Division Award in the Category of Engineering, Kennewick

- International Science & Engineering Fair Award, Los Angeles, Calif.

- Genius Olympiad Award, Oswego, N.Y.

- American Chemical Society: Outstanding Chemistry Project, Kennewick

- US Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service, & WA State Potato Commission: Outstanding Biological Science Research, Kennewick

- ASU Walton Sustainability Solutions Award, Kennewick

- Office of River Protection: Outstanding Research in the Field of Energy, Kennewick

- Mid-Columbia Regional Engineering Fair Award: Clarity of Presentation, Kennewick

Elizabeth Larson

– “Integrating Colors into Passwords to Improve Cyber Security”

- 1st Place Senior Division Award in the Computer Science Category, Kennewick

- 3rd Place Overall Senior Division, Kennewick

- Office of River Protection: Outstanding Research in the Field of Energy, Kennewick

- Mid-Columbia Regional Engineering Fair Award: Distinction in Creativity, Kennewick

Chance Messer

– “Engineering a Sagebrush Harvester for the Production of Biofuel”

- 2nd Place Senior Division Award in the Category of Engineering, Kennewick

- Sigma Xi Award: Outstanding Scientific Method, Kennewick

- Mid-Columbia Regional Engineering Fair Award: Distinction in Engineering, Kennewick

Kiegan Wehr

– “Improving Wheat (Triticum aestivum) Production Under Drought Stress using Symbiotic Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi”

- 1st Place Senior Division Award in the Category of Botany, Kennewick

- Honorable Mention Overall Senior Division, Kennewick

- US Stockholm Junior Water Prize: Award of Excellence for Water Related Research, Kennewick

- YALE Science & Engineering Award: Outstanding Research, Kennewick

- Mid-Columbia Regional Science Fair Award: Experimental Design, Kennewick

Colton Messer

– “The Effect of the Port Size on Runtime of a Pulse Jet Engine”

- 1st Place Junior Division Award in the Category of Engineering, Kennewick

- Honorable Mention Overall Junior Division, Kennewick

As the overall first-place awardee, Cole Kissler earned an all-expenses-paid trip to attend the International Science and Engineering Fair, sponsored in part by Intel. This fair hosts over a thousand high school students from around the world and is the largest pre-college science competition. It will be held this year in Los Angeles, Calif., May 15-19, 2017. Kissler was also presented with the Genius Olympiad Award for which, during the week of June 14-19, 2017, he is invited back to Oswego, N.Y. to present his research seeking solutions to problems related to responsible use of non-renewable natural resources. His research in improving pretreatment solutions to biofuel has earned him this honor.

Having earned the U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize, Kiegan Wehr is now invited to present his research at the Washington State Stockholm Junior Water Prize Competition this March. If selected by Washington state, he could move on to the national competition in New York, giving him the opportunity to earn a spot at the international competition to be held in Stockholm, Sweden.

These Odessa student researchers now prepare for the Washington State Junior Science and Humanities Symposium in Seattle, March 16-17, 2016 and the Washington State Science Fair in Bremerton, March 31-April 2, 2017.

Those who would like to follow what these young researchers are up to each week, can visit the student-driven website: http://www.wehrdscience.com/ASR or follow them on Twitter or Facebook @ohsASR.

 

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