BY KELLY MADSEN | IOWA ENERGY CENTER
During the 2013 State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa (SSTFI), over 600 students gathered to share their enthusiasm for scientific research with peers, educators, and judges.
Iowa’s students, ranging from sixth grade to high school seniors, were invited to present their personal research in science-related topics during the day-long event on Friday, April 5th at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. During the event, hundreds of students were recognized with awards and scholarships for their research in animal science, biochemistry, behavioral science, chemistry, cellular biology, computer science, engineering, earth sciences, energy and transportation, environmental sciences, mathematics, medicine and health, physics, and plant sciences. Over $65,000 in scholarships from various organizations were awarded during the event.
During the SSTFI, the Iowa Energy Center awarded $13,500 in Youth and Energy Scholarships to four high school students with energy-focused research projects.
“We think awarding scholarships is important because energy is a long-term challenge that will need future generations to be interested in solving,” Dr. Mark Petri, director of the Iowa Energy Center, said. “Any kind of encouragement we can give to students for energy research now, will be beneficial for the future.”
The Iowa Energy Center’s panel of eight judges, was comprised of professionals from Iowa’s energy sector, STEM programs, and Energy Center staff. The panel judged 15 energy-specific high school projects and evaluated each student’s research for creative ability, scientific thought, thoroughness, clarity, and team work.
After hours of judging and discussion, the judges selected four students to receive the Youth and Energy Scholarship. The scholarships have three award levels, $5,000, $2,500 and $1,000 and are selected based on the level of the research project. The following students were selected as the Iowa Energy Center’s 2013 Youth and Energy Scholarship recipients:
- Kellie Einck, junior from South O’Brien Secondary School, Primghar, Iowa received a $5,000 scholarship for her project titled, “Cellulosic Ethanol Production Using a Combination of Ruminant Bacteria in an Artificial Rumen.”
- Abby Walling, sophomore from West Senior High School, Iowa City, Iowa received a $5,000 scholarship for her project titled, “Significantly Increasing the Concentration of Cellulosic Ethanol using Cedecea davisae.”
- Eric Koehlmoos, sophomore from South O’Brien Secondary School, Granville, Iowa received a $2,500 scholarship for his project titled, “Grass to Gas: Phase II.”
- Korrie Einck, freshman from South O’Brien Secondary School, Primghar, Iowa received a $1,000 scholarship for her project titled, “Biomess to Biogas: Phase II.”
During the 2012 SSTFI, both Kellie Einck and Abby Walling received scholarships from the Iowa Energy Center, making this year’s scholarship their second from the Iowa Energy Center.
“I was excited to come back this year because my project has grown, and I’ve become more knowledgeable and discovered new things,” Ms. Einck said. “Since last year, I have taken classes at a local community college and that has encouraged me to strive and do more with my research.”
During the afternoon awards ceremony, Dr. Petri congratulated the students who won the Youth and Energy Scholarships and also acknowledged Kevin Brasser, a science teacher at South O’Brien Secondary School, for supporting his students in energy-related research. In 2012 and 2013, South O’Brien students have won five Youth and Energy Scholarships totaling $12,250, which is a clear reflection of Mr. Brasser’s dedication to his students.
In addition to awarding scholarships to students studying energy-related subjects, the Iowa Energy Center was a platinum sponsor for the event along with Iowa Biotech Association, and Iowa State University. The event was organized by Iowa State University Extension & Outreach, ISU Extension 4-H Youth Development Program, and Iowa’s North Central STEM Hub.