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Area students win awards at 63rd Annual SEMO Regional Science Fair

Several area students won awards at the 63rd annual Southeast Missouri Regional Science Fair. The work of 615 students from 44 area high schools and junior high schools was shown on March 5 at the Show Me Center.

Jackson High School sophomores Elijah Jones and Hunter Rees, as well as home school student Grant Roseman won the top awards of the night, winning the chance to compete at the 70th International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, AZ.

Roseman’s experiment was “How will different ticks respond to carbon dioxide?”

Jones and Rees’ experiment, “Bioremediation of Elevated Arsenite Concentrations in Groundwater via Transgenic Bacteria Containing the Arsenite Oxidase Gene Cluster,” aims to use bacteria cells to fight arsenic in the groundwater worldwide.

“Usually in developed countries like America, we have technology like ion exchange systems that can get rid of arsenic pollution, but in countries like Bangladesh and Southeast Asia, they don’t have the energy or the resources to fight them,” Rees said. “Bacteria can sometimes be the only option for this. It’s kind of amazing how a little tiny bacteria cells can be used to fight this.”

Jones said they were ecstatic to compete in the competition in May. “We’ve been trying to aim for this for a while now, so we’re really glad our dream has become a reality,” he said.

At the international competition, approximately 1,800 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions, and territories will showcase their independent research and compete for around $4 million in prizes.

From Jackson High School, Emma Shields won first place for the senior chemistry category and received the American Chemical Society award. Jones and Rees also won the first place for the senior Earth and environmental sciences, the American Chemical Society award and the U.S. Air Force award.

From Saxony Lutheran High School, Etienne Soto won third place in the senior biomedical and health sciences category. Seth Sievers received second place in the senior energy category, won best in category and received the Office of Naval Research award. Megan Casasola won the U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize.

Immaculate Conception students received many awards in the junior categories.

Winners included: Eve Jones (junior biochemistry second place), Ava Poe (junior biochemistry second place), Audrey Dekens (junior biomedical and health sciences second place), Tori Rubel (junior biomedical and health sciences first place, best in category, U.S. Air Force award, Broadcom MASTERS award and overall junior life science project), Katy Turner (junior chemistry second place), Molly Turner (junior chemistry second place), Erica DeBrock (junior chemistry second place), Livi Kennedy (junior chemistry second place), Avery Bader (junior chemistry first place and Broadcom MASTERS award), Page Elfrink (junior chemistry first place and Broadcom MASTERS award), Celia Keran (junior chemistry first place and Broadcom MASTERS award), Katherine Lewis (junior Earth and environmental sciences third place), Lily Huff (junior Earth and environmental sciences first place, best in category and Broadcom MASTERS award); Annalise Garner (junior energy second place), Tryston Duby (junior energy first place, best in category, Office of Naval Research award and Broadcom MASTERS award), Felicity Kester (junior engineering third place, Office of Naval Research award and U.S. Metric Association award), Karlyle Kasten (junior engineering first place and Broadcom MASTERS award), Hailey Burnett (junior engineering first place, best in category, Cape Girardeau Area Engineers Club award and Broadcom MASTERS award), Russell Coy (junior physics third place), Liam Kesterson (junior physics second place), Karley Mc-Bride (junior physics first place and Broadcom MASTERS award), Kayli Johnson (junior plant science second place), Rachel Engelen (junior plant science first place, Office of Naval Research award and Broadcom MASTERS award) and Macy Bommarito (junior plant science first place and Broadcom MASTERS award).

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past five years. He can be reached at

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