Cloquet High School students were selected from the Northeast Minnesota Regional Science Fair held at the University of Minnesota-Duluth in February to attend the ninth annual International Sustainable World (Energy, Engineering and Environment) Project Olympiad (I-SWEEEP) in Houston, Texas, the last week of April.

The Cloquet students and their mentor Dr. Cynthia Welsh attended the event with young scientists from 43 states and 70 countries. The Cloquet students displayed their science projects along with 464 other science projects from around the world.

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The mission of I-SWEEEP is to create a collaborative yet competitive environment in which students can present their innovative ideas on today’s challenges in energy, engineering, and the environment, and creating a more sustainable world for tomorrow.

Participants enjoyed the opportunity to meet with their friends from different parts of the world, seeing they are not the only ones committed to find solutions to global environmental problems. The I-SWEEEP awards are valued at nearly $450,000 in scholarships, monetary prizes, tuition grants, and scientific internships. For more information visit

Cloquet High School senior Christine Neumann presented the project that she and her partner Crystal Moynan worked on this year. Neumann and Moynan received a first-place Gold Grand Award (top 5 percent) in the Environmental Category for her award-winning presentation. Only four projects in the Environmental Category were selected as the top gold medal winners at this international fair.  Neumann presented their project titled “The effect of time, benthic substrate, and location within the St. Louis River Estuary on the invasion of Neogobius melanostomus in the watershed, and the use of underwater speakers emitting the conspecific male mating call as a possible removal method.” Neumann and Moynan were given special protocol assistance from Dr. Robert Lloyd, University of Minnesota psychology professor and lab space and guidance from Dr. Allen Mesinger, UMD biology professor, and Dr. Brooke Vetter, UMD biology department scientist, as well as field guidance from Dr. Shon Schooler, National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) researcher.

Cloquet juniors Jacob Schmidt and Levi Peterson were awarded Honorable Mention (fourth-place presentation) for their project is titled “A Nice Fracking Solution: The Effect of Fracking Water Salts vs. Road Salts on the Growth of Lumbriculus variegatus.” They were given protocol guidance from Dr. Dave Mount, Dr. Joel Hoffman and Michelle Gutsch, Duluth EPA scientists, as well as fracking salt samples from Dr. Tim Hagen, UMD NRRI Research Project Specialist.

The Cloquet Public School’s student participation in science fair events 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 Gidaa NASA funded Science Camp; University of Minnesota’s Geoscience Alliance’s Diversity Director Diana Dalbotten and Emi Ito, as well as University of Minnesota education professor Dr. Mark Bellcourt.