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Casper, Greybull, Laramie and Veteran Students Win State Science Fair Competition

March 11, 2014
Student discussing project
Emmannuel Maya, left, a Big Piney Middle School student, explained his project “Wind Power” with Laramie resident Laura Francis, at the recent Wyoming State Science Fair at the University of Wyoming. (Ashlee Williams Photo)

Students from Casper, Greybull, Laramie and Veteran received the top awards at the recent Wyoming State Science Fair at the University of Wyoming. More than 300 students representing 26 schools attended the annual science fair.

Greybull High School student Jarelly Castro; Natrona County High School’s Connor Coughenour; Laramie homeschooler Lia Eggleston; Katrina Haines from Southeast High School in Yoder; and Sarah Shader, representing Laramie High School, all received exceptional merit awards. The five students placed first in their respective Senior Division categories.

Students with winning projects received various monetary and non-monetary prizes or scholarship awards from sponsors. The five top winners are eligible to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). The ISEF, the largest pre-college science competition, will take place in Los Angeles, Calif., in May.

The State Science Fair encourages students in Wyoming grades 6-12 to plan, organize, research, prepare and present projects of their interest. The science fair motivates students to pursue careers in related fields, says Wyoming State Science Fair Coordinator Joy Johnson.

Castro, a senior from Greybull, placed first in the biochemistry division with “Berberine Compounds as a Potential Methodology for Controlling Activity of Select Membrane Proteins.” Castro’s project mentor was Joel M. Kuper.

Coughenour, a Casper sophomore, entered “Efficient Watering,” which won the environmental management category. He was mentored by Brock Burch.

Eggleston, a Laramie sophomore, placed first in the physics and astronomy category with “Time and Radiation Domain in Star-like Objects: Relating Intrinsic Colors of Quasars to Redshifts.” She had three mentors: UW professors Daniel Dale and Ruben Gamboa and Laramie High School instructor Erin Klauk.

Haines, a junior from Veteran, entered “Towards a More Practical Vertical Axis Wind Turbine,” which placed first in the engineering: materials and bioengineering category. Lonna Schmick mentored Haines.

Shader won the mathematical sciences category with “Weighted Catalan Numbers and Their Divisibility Properties.” The Laramie senior’s mentor was Erin Klauk.

State participants competed in seven regional fairs throughout the state in late January and February. Almost 700 students from around the state competed in regional fairs this year, Johnson says.

Students competed in 17 categories at the state science fair: animal science; behavioral and social sciences; biochemistry; cellular and molecular biology; chemistry; computers; earth and planetary sciences; engineering: electrical and mechanical engineering; engineering: materials and bioengineering; energy and transportation; environmental management; environmental sciences; mathematics; medicine and health sciences; microbiology; physics and astronomy; and plant sciences.

UW content experts, community professionals and specialists from relevant industries judged the projects. More than 100 volunteer judges evaluated student projects through personal interviews, interactions and peer reviews.

For more information about the state science fair, contact Johnson, UW Science and Math Teaching Center assistant lecturer, at (307) 766-9863 or email Visit the Wyoming State Science Fair website at


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