Unalaska students sweep state science fair

Unalaska led a veritable sweep of this year’s Alaska Science and Engineering Fair. All participating Unalaska student placed first in their respective categories, and one senior was selected to participate in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).

Noah Betzen was one of the grand prize winners, coming in second overall for his project, “The Effects of Calcium Carbonate on Ocean Acidification.” He also placed first in the high school environmental sciences category. His project looked at how ocean acidification, which can hurt shellfish and pollock, can be curbed.

“I wanted to see if it would be possible to use something called a pH buffer – calcium carbonate – to counteract ocean acidification,” says Betzen.

Bianca Barrera and Bethany Hladick took the first place prize in the high school medical sciences category. Cheyanne Shaishnikoff and Kanesia Price were the winners in the middle school environmental sciences category, while Sierra Moskios and Christian Escalante were tops in the middle school ocean sciences category. Moskios and Escalante also received recognition from the North Pacific Coast Board, which awarded them with a $74 prize for their project on wave energy.

The contest was judged on Saturday at Begich Middle School in Anchorage. A record number of projects were judged in this year’s fair: over 600 students from 70 schools submitted a total of 513 projects. Betzen says that the process was a grueling one for all involved.

KUCB News, 21 March 2011. Full article.

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