Cloquet students excel at State Science Fair

Thirty-six Cloquet High School and Middle School students, their research mentor Cynthia Welsh, Cloquet teachers Amy Jackson, Richard Rhoades, and UMD student chaperones Larissa Geibner, Cassandra Roy, Alec Lamirande, Preston Jackson (Fond du Lac...

645264+Cloquet State Science Fair - everyone.jpg
Cloquet students attend the State Science Fair.

Thirty-six Cloquet High School and Middle School students, their research mentor Cynthia Welsh, Cloquet teachers Amy Jackson, Richard Rhoades, and UMD student chaperones Larissa Geibner, Cassandra Roy, Alec Lamirande, Preston Jackson (Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College), William Bauer (Stanford University), Scott Welsh, Tara Belden and Lisa Neumann attended the Minnesota Academy of Science State Science Fair,in Bloomington, Minn. at the end of March.

The State Science and Engineering Fair is an annual competition that showcases Minnesota’s best and brightest students in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math ( ). This year’s Cloquet student presenters -- mentored by Cynthia Welsh -- won more special awards than they have in any other past state fair and include the following students:

CHS junior Madison Pallin and her project titled “St. Louis River Estuary: The use of Lidar imagery to evaluate Spring Creeks sediment load and the effect of location and a large storm event on the overall water quality” was the top Cloquet special award winner. Dr. Karen Gran, UMD Geology Professor, and her graduate student Pichawut Manopkawee gave Pallin lab space and special assistance. Deanna Ericson, education coordinator of the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve (LSNERR) provided her with specialized water sampling equipment. Pallin received awards from the Association for Women in Science, Pentair Award-first place high school ($500 scholarship) and the U.S. Metric Association.

CHS junior Caleb Charon and his project titled “What effect does a speech therapy application (flash cards), programmed in iPhone Operating System (IOS), have on speech articulation when compared to the use of physical handheld flashcards” received the Intel Excellence in Computer Science ($200 award). Charon received special assistance from Laura Nitsche (Cloquet Schools), and Katherine Bradley (Community Memorial Hospital), both speech language pathologists. Charon also received programming assistance from Don Bremer of Donneray Computer Consulting.

CHS sophomores Christine Neumann and Crystal Moynan and CMS eighth-grader Morgan Smith were awarded the American Fisheries Society Aquatic Science Award of Excellence.


CHS freshmen Trentin Russell and Jada Johnson, with special assistance from Dr. Alec Habig, UMD physics professor and coordinator of the MINOS Project and his graduate student Kyle Tomsen, were presented with the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Award.

CHS sophomores Kassidy Steen and Jessica Stone were given the SAS Data Analysis and Visualization Award - and five-year statistical software licensure, for both the students and school. Steen and Stone received extra help from Dr. Robert Lloyd, UMD psychology professor; Bethany Ill, UMD psychology student; and William Bauer, Stanford computer science undergraduate.

CHS sophomore Tayiah Hanson was honored with the General Mills Food-Based Social  Change Award, the first-place high school award for Developing and Sharing Food Solutions ($125). Hanson was given assistance from Dr. Dave Mount, senior scientist at the Duluth Environmental Protection Agency.

The following students were mentored by Cynthia Edwardson of Cloquet and won special awards, including CMS seventh-grader Maddison Rice and CMS eighth-grader Makalaeh Kneisel, who received the Biosciences for Farming in Africa Award. CMS eighth-graders Sophia Kirkava and Hailey Owens were awarded the Minnesota Sea Life Aquarium Award.

subhed: Minnesota Academy of Science Grand Awards

These top awards at the fair recognize excellence in scientific research. Students are ranked according to their poster and presentation score.

Receiving a Bronze Medal awarded to the top 15 percent of the top 500 projects at the State Fair were Cloquet Middle School students Morgan Smith, Ryan Fredrickson, team Gabby Napper and Brandi Nelson, and team Sophia Kirkava and Hailey Owens. Napper, Nelson and Smith were given special help from Dr. Dave Mount (EPA). Ryan Fredrickson was given project design support from Cloquet alumni Logan Pallin, a senior at Duke University in Marine Science and Environmental Policy.

Silver Medals, awarded to the top 10 percent of the projects, were presented to Cloquet High School senior Adrianna Pollak and team Christine Neumann and Crystal Moynan, Cloquet juniors. Moynan and Neumann, with their project titled “What effect does gender, tone, and sound location have on the response behavior of Neogobius melanostomus (Round Gobies) and the possibility of future trapping of this invasive species,” were given professional assistance from Brooke Vetter, a UMD biology graduate student working on her PhD and Dr. Robert Lloyd, psychology professor at UMD. Pollak and her project “The use of quantitative PCR to determine the impact of zygosity (hemizygotes vs. homozygotes) on the fitness and impact in the wild of transgenic fluorescent zebrafish” received professional assistance and guidance from Dr. Jennifer Liang, biology professor at UMD and scientists Michael Schoeneberger and Jim Bjork.


CHS senior Adrianna Pollak (mentored by Cynthia Welsh) was given some of the top high school awards at the state fair. She received the top high school project in her category (Animal Science) and was given the Wolfram Research Mathematics Software Award. Pollak also received the American Association for Advancement of Science Award (AAAS) which recognizes the top 10 female and male high school projects at the fair that seek to advance science, engineering and innovation.

CMS eighth-grader Frances Slater received the Gold Medal award, the top Grand Award at the fair (top 5 percent). Slater was mentored by Dr. Cynthia Welsh and Cloquet senior Adrianna Pollak, and was also given assistance from UMD Biology Professor Dr. Jennifer Liang. Slater’s project was titled “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish: What effect does the genotype of a zebrafish cross have on the phenotype of their offspring?” Slater also received the Seagate Emerging Scientist Award, recognizes excellence in scientific research conducted by students at the fair for the first time and the Broadcom Masters Award given to the top 10 percent of middle school projects.

Also presenting their research at the state science fair were CMS students Eli Benson, MacKenzie Brummer, Brianna Demers, Tori Leppi, Carter Milleker, Darren Sayers, Payten Schneberger, Janah Sevilleja, Nicolas Smoczynski, Claire Taubman, Noah Kolodge, Tamara Marineau, Ethan Matzdorf, Isaac Stone and Morgan Walsh; and CHS students Jacob Belden, Gabe Lah, Levi Peterson, Lillian Minock and Evan Pokornowski.

Also presenting their research papers were Frances Slater and Morgan Smith.

Cloquet Public Schools’ participation in the Minnesota Academy of Science Fair is funded by Cloquet Schools, with extra financial support for their projects from the Cloquet Educational Foundation, funded in part by the Minnesota Power Foundation, with special assistance from Holly Pellerin, director of the Manoomin Project funded through the National Science Foundation and the University of Minnesota’s Geoscience Alliance’s Diversity Director Diana Dalbotten and Emi Ito.

645273+Cloquet State Science Fair - Grand Award Winners.JPG
Grand Award Winners from the State Science Fair include (front, from left) Frances Slater (gold), Christine Neumann (silver), Ryan Fredrickson (bronze), team Sophia Kirkava and Hailey Owens (bronze), (back, from left) Adrianna Pollak (silver), Crystal Moynan (silver), Tim Renier (gold), and Morgan Smith (bronze). Not pictured are Gabriella Napper and Brandi Nelson (bronze). Contributed Photo

What To Read Next
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.