Students from Bangor, Greely High Schools win Maine State Science Fair
By Joyce Peterson
Bar Harbor, Maine—Mary Butler, a sophomore at Bangor High School, is the grand prize winner of the 2013 Maine State Science Fair at The Jackson Laboratory.
"It feels great! It was very unexpected," Mary said. "I really want to thank the STEM Academy at Bangor High School for providing me with this research opportunity." She also thanked her mentors for their help in guiding her project, "Nanofibrillated cellulose as the potential component of a low-cost water filtration system."
Greely High School sophomore Meagan Currie won second place overall for her project, "Filtration rates of mytilus edulis as related to harmful algal blooms. Meagan won first place at the 2012 Fair.
Third place went to Harrison Pershing, a freshman at Greely High School, for his project, "Geometric bore variants and their harmonic nuances in musical instruments."
Mary, Meagan and Harrison will be traveling to Phoenix in May to attend the 2013 INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair, the world’s largest science fair. The Laboratory took over coordination of the Fair in late 2010, revising the rules to conform to international standards so the winning students could qualify for the INTEL competition. Last year Meagan and Sam Wood of Mount Ararat High School were the first Maine students to attend INTEL.
Sam, who today also won first prize in the Earth, Physics and Astronomy division and a U.S. Army award for his project, describes the INTEL competition as "a great experience. The level of the projects was just unreal, so it gave perspective on what I was doing here and motivated me to come back and try hard. And it was fun! It focused me into the world of research as a possible career choice."
Billie Cunningham, The Jackson Laboratory's education outreach coordinator, said, "We’d like to see the science fair grow and include every high school in Maine. And we’d like to see high school students all over Maine embrace science like their peers here today, to fill the high-technology jobs that will help our state grow and prosper.”
Sponsors of the 2013 Maine State Science Fair include Bangor Savings Bank, Bank of America, The Betterment Fund, the Sam L. Cohen Foundation, the Dorr Foundation, EMHS, Jane’s Trust, and an anonymous foundation. Achievement Award sponsors were Bowdoin College, the Northeast Institute of Food Technologists and the University of Southern Maine, with special support from Eagles Lodge Motel and Hannaford Supermarkets.
More than 200 students participated in this year’s Fair, representing Bangor High School, Cape Elizabeth High School, Chop Point School in Woolwich, Falmouth High School, Foster Technology Center in Farmington, George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill, Greely High School in Cumberland Center, Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone, Mount Blue High School in Farmington, Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham, Old Town High School, REACH School in Bucksport, Scarborough High School and Thornton Academy in Saco, as well as home-schooled students.
The Maine State Science Fair is one of The Jackson Laboratory’s many initiatives for training and educating scientists at all levels, including programs for high school and college students, graduate students, science teachers, postdoctoral researchers and mid-career scientists.
The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution based in Bar Harbor, Maine, with a facility in Sacramento, Calif., and a new genomic medicine institute in Farmington, Conn. It employs a total staff of more than 1,450. Its mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health.