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Perham High School students who qualified to compete at the state science fair included, left to right: Racole Karels, Maria Lorenson, Riley Tostenson, Michael Thompson, Seth Stafki and Jay Klatt. Submitted photo

Perham students perform well at state science fair

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Perham High School students brought multiple awards home from the Minnesota State Science and Engineering Fair, held in Minneapolis April 7-9.

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Winning Grand Awards for their projects were Riley Tostenson, with a bronze medal in the Environmental Management Division, and Michael Thompson, with a bronze medal in the Materials and Bioengineering Division.

Winning special awards from businesses and governmental agencies were: Maria Lorenson, Excellence in Environmental Health Award; Racole Karels, General Mills Food Based Social Change Award; and Michael Thompson, Seagate Technology First Year Award.

The Minnesota Academy of Science’s State Science and Engineering Fair is an annual event that showcases the state’s best and brightest students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. It is the culmination of regional science fairs occurring throughout the state.

Participants in the state science fair are middle or high school students. From approximately 2,500 regional participants, 500 sixth through 12th graders are selected to present at the state fair, where more than 75 organizations and businesses present 300 awards to students with outstanding projects.

More than a competition, the state science fair champions young scientists’ work throughout the year with teacher and mentor support and the opportunity to present and dialogue about their work. Students conduct their own original research and present it before a number of judges. They learn individually and from others by discussing the nature of scientific inquiry, defending their reasoning, and articulating their specific findings orally and graphically with a display board.

Students are evaluated on four criteria: the process of science; effectiveness of communication; context of the project; and scope of understanding.

Qualifying to compete at the Minnesota State Science and Engineering Fair this year from Perham High School were the following students and their projects: Maria Lorenson, “E. coli Happens: Surfaces, Cleansers and Bacterial Connections”; Jay Klatt, “The Feeding Behavior of White-Tailed Deer in Winter”; Riley Tostenson, “Does Wood Density Effect Carbon Sequestration Efficiency?”; Racole Karels, “See Food Diet: Do Visual Cues Determine Stopping Points When Eating?”; Seth Stafki, “Investigating Agricultural Practices and Prairie Pothole Eutrophication”; and Michael Thompson, “Multilayered Transparent Horticulture System.”

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