UACES Facebook Salem junior takes Soybean Science Challenge Award award at ASU Science Fair
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Salem junior takes Soybean Science Challenge Award award at ASU Science Fair

By the U of A System Division of Agriculture
April 5, 2019 

Fast Facts:

  • 17-year-old takes top prize at Northeast Arkansas Regional Science Fair
  • Arkansas Soybean Science Challenge began in 2014

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JONESBORO, Ark. — A Salem High School junior has won the Soybean Science Challenge at the 2019 Northeast Arkansas Regional Science Fair, held at Arkansas State University-Jonesboro, on March 8. 

Cooper, Gary Sitzer and teacher edit

Cooper Bassham, 17, took first place with his project, “Use of biological control agents to inhibit the growth of phytopathogenic bacteria,” for which the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board awarded him $300. The project also received  several other awards, including first place in the plant science category, the Air Force Award, the ASM: Material Education Foundation Award, and second place overall in the “Best of Fair” category. 

Bassham’s teacher, Amanda Smith, won the $200 Soybean Science Challenge Teacher Mentor Award. Smith said The Soybean Science Challenge was an exciting opportunity for her students. 

“Soybeans are a vital crop for farmers in Arkansas and directly affect my students’ lives,” Smith said. “Using the Soybean Science Challenge in the classroom has also met a lot of my students’ learning goals.” 

Both Smith and Bassham said the impact the competition introduced them to the surprising complexity of the world of soybean agriculture. 

 “Prior to my participation in the Soybean Science Challenge, I had very little knowledge about Arkansas soybeans and their incredibly far-reaching range of influence,” Bassham said. 

Smith said her prior knowledge about farming soybeans was limited, as well. 

Dr. Julie Robinson, assistant professor of instructional design for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said the Soybean Science Challenge provides an opportunity for Arkansas high school students to participate in scientific research that can impact both the state and the world.

“The Soybean Science Challenge provides an opportunity for Arkansas High School students to participate in scientific research that can impact the State of Arkansas as well as the world,” Robinson said. “Soybean Science Challenge student researchers learn about this important commodity crop and its many uses including feeding the world, development of biofuels and sustainable products. The Soybean Science Challenge helps students develop an understanding of the challenges and complexities of modern farming.” 

The Arkansas Soybean Science Challenge was launched in January 2014 to science students in grades 9-12. Participants are required to complete an online course in soybean education in order to have their original soybean-related research projects judged at Arkansas science and engineering fairs affiliated with ISEF, the International Science and Engineering Fair. 

Information on the 2019-2020 Arkansas Soybean Science Challenge will be available in summer 2019. For more information, contact Dr. Julie Robinson at jrobinson@uaex.edu or Diedre Young at dyoung@uaex.edu

To learn about science and farming education in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.edu. Follow us on Twitter at @UAEX_edu

 

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.  

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.   

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126
mhightower@uaex.edu

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