The right science stuff
April 28, 2023
Science fair is roaring back in the wake of Covid-19. For the first time since it was abruptly canceled in 2020, the Minnesota Academy of Science state science fair was held in person last month.
They're on the right track, said Cynthia Welsh, longtime Cloquet middle school science teacher and research mentor, who organizes the annual Northeastern Minnesota Regional Science Fair. Prior to Covid, she said the regional fair boasted as many as 200 competitors from schools around northern Minnesota. This year there were 68 Cloquet high school and middle school students competing at the regional science fair at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, more than double the participants when the fairs had to be held virtually during the pandemic.
Twenty-three of the Cloquet students advanced to the state science fair, and were among the 323 students from across the state to compete at the Minnesota State Science and Engineering Fair held March 24 at the St. Paul RiverCentre.
Forty companies and organizations awarded more than $15,000 in cash prizes and other awards, gifts and opportunities.
Cloquet sophomore Johanna Bernu earned the top prize at the regional fair of a trip to the International Science and Engineering Fair in Texas May 14-19.
Students who attended the state science fair included:
Cloquet Middle School: Adriana Mondati, Aubrey Bosick-Reynolds, Bristol Vanguilder, Ernest M. (Milo) Wilson, Ethan De Pree, Finley Holz, Gracie Young, Jeremiah Bents, Melanie Buhs, Abigail Dahl-Foucault, Abigail Isaacson, Graham Blackwood, Hendrix Wilkinson, James Matti, Olivia Berg, Peyton Feehan, Raelynn Woullet, McKenna Gandhi and Peyton Werner.
Cloquet High School: Johanna Bernu, Grace Lavan, Ethan Lavan and Parker Sickmann.
Grand Award winners
Gold Grand Award
(For the top 5 percent of projects)
• Johanna Bernu, 10th grade. Project: Disinfectant Properties of Nuphar advena: An Ethno-pharmaceutical Approach
Silver Grand Award
(For the top 10 percent of projects)
• Abigail Dahl Foucault, seventh grade. Project: What effect does the type of sweetener (aspartame vs. sugar) have on probiotic bacteria growth
• James Matti and Raelynn Woulett, seventh grade. Project: Duckweed and Clean Water
Bronze Grand Award
(For the top 15 percent of projects)
• Grace Lavan, 11th grade. Project: A Continuation Study of the Effects of Line 3 Oil Pipeline Construction on Gray Wolves (Canis lupus) on the Fond du Lac Reservation
• McKenna Gandhi, eighth grade. Project: The effect of hand sanitizer on the hand bacteria's antibacterial resistance to ampicillin
• Ethan DePree, seventh grade. Project: Baking a Raspberry Pi: Building and Stress Testing a Lunchbox Computer
• Jeremiah Bents and Finley Holz, seventh grade. Project: Wolf (Canis lupus) Tendencies on the Fond du Lac Reservation
• Adriana Mondati, seventh grade. Project: Does your personality correspond with what you rate different pets?
• Hendrix Wilkinson, seventh grade. Project: Hurricane House. What effect does house design have on if it can withstand high winds.
Other special awards
Ecolab Food Safety Award: Peyton Werner
Diasorin Merit Award: Hendrix Wilkinson
LHB Outstanding Engineering or Building Science Award: Hendrix Wilkinson
Thermo Fisher Scientific Junior Innovators Challenge: Abigail Dahl Foucault
Seagate Emerging Scientists: James Matti and Raelynn Woulett; Jeremiah Bents and Finley Holz
3M Young Inventor Award: Jeremiah Bents and Finley Holz
Lemelson Early Inventor: Ethan DePree