By Maggie Schauer
Murphy News Service
Maple Grove residents participated in the state science and engineering fair this month and four students won top prizes.
Students qualify for the Minnesota State Science and Engineering Fair only if they have qualified at one of the eight regional science fairs throughout the state.
Students do their own research, discuss that research with experts in the relative field and compete for scholarships and $25,000 in awards.
Those who participated in the fair were not only competing for scholarships but they also got to network with other students and Fortune 500 companies.
The 2013 qualifier for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Priyanka Narayan said, “(The Science Fair) was definitely one of the most fantastic experience I have ever had. During the week I was able to meet with students from Norway, Argentina, China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and many other nations, who all share the same interests in science that I do.”
Sponsors from companies ranging from 3M to Ecolab to Barr Engineering to the Subaru of America Foundation were there to network with students.
Local winners were Jackson Egert (Maple Grove High School), Madison Ernst (Breck School), Patricia Zhao (Breck School), and Kevin Zheng (Wayzata High School)
Egert, a senior, landed a spot among the top 30 percent with the project “Passive Reclamation of Unexploited Energy.” He received the Minnesota Academy of Science Bronze Award.
Zhao and Ernst competed together with a project titled “Targeting toxic waste in social and aquatic environments: Investigation chemotactic response of Pseudomonas Putida F1.” The pair won an impressive array of awards, including the Minnesota Academy of Science Gold Award, American Association for the Advancement of Science Award, Water Environment Federation Stockholm Junior Water Prize, Wolfram Research Mathematic Software Award and Ecolab Foundation Green Award.
Zheng submitted a project on “Creating a Cavity-Dumped Helium Neon Laser.” He won the US Metric Association Award and placed fourth with his oral presentation and research in the North Central Regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. He will compete on the national level in Washington D.C. from April 23-27.
Karina Skov, a 2013 state science fair participant said of the competition: “It is empowering and inspirational to know that you are a part of a group of people that could change the world.”
Maggie Schauer is studying journalism at the University of Minnesota.