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Teacher Shawn Stafki, left, and this group of students traveled to the state science competition last weekend. From left, Stafki, Jon Coleman, Nancy Stenger, Jesse Obright, Seth Stafki, and Annalee Beaver.

Perham students compete, earn awards at State Science Fair

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Perham students compete, earn awards at State Science Fair
Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

From Shawn Stafki

PHS science teacher

Approximately 475 students from across Minnesota were showcased at the state's 73rd annual Minnesota Academy of Science State Science and Engineering Fair, March 26-28, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown St. Paul.


This statewide science competition, which is for Minnesota students in grades seven through 12, is sponsored by Seagate Technology, 3M, Ecolab and Medtronic. Of the nearly 3,000 students who compete in regional science fairs across Minnesota, about 475 students, or 15 percent, advance to the State Science and Engineering Fair.

Competing at this year's fair from Perham High School were:

-Jesse Obright with his project titled "A Comparison of the Effects of Streptomycin and Coliphage Lambda on Escherichia coli"

-Nancy Stenger with her project titled "I Am All Ears: A Study of GMO Corn Pollen"

-Annalee Beaver with her honorable mention in psychology division project titled "An Investigation of Math Class Rigor and its Role in Students Cognitive Development:

-Seth Stafki with his project titled "The Effects of Electromagnetic and Radio Frequency Waves from Cellular Phones on Cell Reproduction"

-Jon Coleman with his silver medal award winning project titled "The Ocean on Acid."

Winning Special Awards were Coleman with the National Oceanic and Aeronautic Administration award for "Best Environmental Science Project" and Obright with the Beckman-Coulter Best Microbiology Project award ($250), St. Mary's University "Best Microbiology Project" award ($2,000 scholarship) and the Seagate Clever Scientist award for most creative science project (includes a portable Seagate hard drive.)

The Perham High School Science Research program is coached by Shawn Stafki.

State Science and Engineering Fair awards are given to students with the highest scoring projects and research papers in 17 categories: Animal Sciences; Behavioral and Social Sciences; Biochemistry; Cellular and Molecular Biology; Chemistry; Computers; Earth and Planetary Science; Energy and Transportation; Engineering-Materials and Bioengineering; Engineering-Electrical and Mechanical; Environmental Management; Environmental Science and Analysis; Mathematical Sciences; Medicine and Health; Microbiology; Physics and Astronomy; and Plant Sciences.

During the next decade and beyond, these students will be counted on to help the United States maintain a strong position in the competitive global marketplace as workers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

According to the National Science Foundation, scientific innovation has produced roughly half of all U.S. economic growth in the last 50 years. Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology states that although only about five percent of the U.S. workforce is employed in STEM fields, the STEM workforce accounts for more than 50 percent of the country's sustained economic growth. Yet, if current trends continue, more than 90 percent of all scientists and engineers in the world will live in Asia, according to the Business Roundtable in Washington, D.C.