High school students compete in Maine State Science Fair at The Jackson Laboratory

Date: May 3, 2011
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Bar Harbor, Maine — Students from high schools across the state competed in the Maine State Science Fair at The Jackson Laboratory on April 30, 2011. The top winners were from Greely High School in Cumberland Center and Watershed School in Rockland.

Michelle Kahn of Greely High won the grand prize for her project on factors that contribute to the breakdown of oil. Michelle has been invited to participate in The Jackson Laboratory's historic Summer Student Program, where she will conduct an independent research project under the mentorship of a Jackson Laboratory scientist.

Besides the 85 students representing 11 Maine high schools, more than 50 judges participated in the Fair, including scientists from The Jackson Laboratory, University of Maine, College of the Atlantic and Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory. Meteorologist Steve McKay of WCSH6/WLBZ2 stopped by to review the students' exhibitions.

Anita Bernhardt, science and technology specialist with the Maine Department of Education, kicked off the awards ceremony with a message from Maine Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen: "Congratulations to all the students who are participating in this year's Maine State Science Fair. I would also like to say thank you to the parents and teachers who have supported you and to The Jackson Laboratory for assuming the leadership of this important event.... Careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics will provide the knowledge and skill critical to solving some of society's most difficult problems. Maine is counting on each and every one of you."

Jackson Director of Educational Programs Randy Smith, Ph.D., says that the Laboratory took on the coordination role when the Maine State Science Fair, with a history of more than six decades, languished for lack of funding. "We felt strongly that Maine couldn't be the only state without a science fair," Smith says.

According to Smith, by attracting more than five schools and 50 student projects, the Laboratory made a vital first step in making future Maine State Science Fair winners eligible to participate in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. "It may take two to three years, but when we reach this goal," Smith says, "Maine State Science Fair students will be able to represent their state for the first time in this prestigious international science competition."

Participating schools in the event were Greely High School, Cumberland Center; Hodgdon High School, Hodgdon;
Lawrence High School, Fairfield; Medomak Valley High School, Waldoboro; Mount Desert Island Regional High School, Bar Harbor; Maine School of Science and Mathematics, Limestone; Mt. Ararat High School, Topsham; Penquis Valley High School, Milo; Southern Aroostook, Dyer Brook; Watershed School, Rockland; and Winslow High School, Winslow.

Sponsors of the 2011 Maine State Science Fair include Bangor Savings Bank, Hannaford and WCSH6/WLBZ2.

Best known as one of the nation's leading nonprofit genetics research institutions and the source of JAX® Mice & Services, The Jackson Laboratory is also an international hub for training and educating scientists. Educational initiatives include programs for high school and college students, graduate students, science teachers, postdoctoral researchers and mid-career biomedical scientists.

Contact(s):

Joyce Peterson, 207-288-6058, The Jackson Laboratory

For information on automatic email delivery of news releases (journalists only), please send an email request for details to news@jax.org. Please address other inquiries to pubinfo@jax.org.

Media Relations, Communications Office
The Jackson Laboratory
600 Main Street
Bar Harbor, Maine 04609-1500
Phone: 207-288-6058 (journalists only)
Main Jackson Laboratory phone: 207-288-6000
Fax: 207-288-6076
Email: news@jax.org