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Laramie, Greybull Students Top State Science Fair Winners

March 12, 2013

Students from Laramie and Greybull received the Top Awards of Exceptional Merit for high school seniors at the recent Wyoming State Science Fair at the University of Wyoming. Nearly 350 students representing 55 schools attended the annual science fair.

Laramie High School students Sarah Shader and Marice Shih, and Sarah Bockman from Greybull High School, all received equal Awards of Exceptional Merit. The three students placed first in their respective Senior Division categories.

Shader took first place in the mathematical sciences category with her project “Intercalates Galore.” Shih placed first in computer science with “On the Splitting of MO(2) over the Steenrod Algebra.” Bockman won the environmental sciences division with “Reducing Contaminants in Mineral Production Effluents with Mycoremediation.”

The three students, along with Michaela Denniston of Greybull High School, will represent Wyoming at the International Science and Engineering Fair in May in Phoenix, Ariz. Denniston’s “Reduction of Environmental Nanoparticle Contaminates Using Aluminosilicates” took second place in the environmental management category.

Five students representing three projects were selected for the Top Awards of Exceptional Merit in the Wyoming State Fair Junior Division. Their projects were equally ranked, says Annie Bergman, Wyoming State Science Fair coordinator and a lecturer at UW's Science and Mathematics Teaching Center.

The five Junior Division sweepstake winners, their school, project categories and project names were:

-- Isie McLoughlin, homeschooled, Daniel, environmental management, “Got Snow? The Cold Hard Truth.”

-- Tanner Warder, Big Horn Middle School, animal sciences, “The Best Place to ‘V’.”

-- Eric Clingenpeel, Chase Galley and Andrew Halverson, all from Green River’s Monroe Intermediate School, physics and astronomy, “Explosion to Expulsion: The Chemical Efficiency of a Rifle.”

The Wyoming State Science Fair encourages students in grades 6-12 to plan, organize, research, prepare and present projects of their interest. It provides students with real-life science experiences, interactions with professionals in the field, and review and application of relevant research. Because their projects are student driven and inquiry-based, the students take ownership of their projects and learn more from the research experience, Bergman says.

To qualify for the state science fair, students first competed in seven regional science fairs throughout Wyoming during January and February. At the state competition, students participated in 17 categories: animal sciences; behavioral and social sciences; biochemistry; cellular and molecular biology; chemistry; computer science; earth and planetary science; energy and transportation; engineering: electrical and mechanical; engineering: materials and bioengineering; environmental management; environmental sciences; mathematical science; medicine and health sciences; microbiology; physics and astronomy; and plant sciences.

More than 150 judges viewed the projects and interviewed the students to determine the category and special award winners. Category winners received certificates of achievement, ribbo and cash prizes. Special award winners received certificates and a variety of cash and other prizes.

More than $11,000 in prizes was awarded at the state competition, Bergman says.

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