UACES Facebook Biodegradable plastic, biofuels among 2018 Soybean Science Challenge regional winners’ projects

Biodegradable plastic, biofuels among 2018 Soybean Science Challenge regional winners’ projects

March 23, 2018

By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast Facts

  • Seven Soybean Science Challenge winners arise from regional science fairs
  • Four regional winners advance to state competition March 30
  • Arkansas Soybean Science Challenge launched in 2014

(848 words)

(Newsrooms: ‘Webre’ is CQ; With downloadable images of the winners at https://flic.kr/s/aHsky7QKq1 )

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LITTLE ROCK – Biodegradable plastic, biocontrol of aphids, biofuels and the relationship between hybridization and chloride uptake were this year’s winning Arkansas Soybean Science Challenge projects at four regional science fairs. 

OMRSEF- 2018 Winners Teacher-Amanda Jones-Student-Brittany Crowe
OUACHITA MOUNTAIN REGIONAL -- At right, Brigette Crow, winner of the Ouachita Mountains Regional Science and Engineering Fair section of the Arkansas Soybean Science Challenge. Shown with her teacher Amanda Jones. (U of A System Division of Agriculture photo)

Each of the winners received a $300 prize provided by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board, which sponsors the project.

Four of the regional winners, Natalie Blake of Ridgway Christian in Pine Bluff, Claire Webre of Parkview Magnet High in Little Rock, Molly Reeves of Alma High School, and Sarah Millikan of Osceola High School, are bound for the Southwestern Energy Arkansas State Science and Engineering Fair on March 30 at the University of Central Arkansas.

Blake, 15, won the Southeast Arkansas Regional Science Fair held at the University of Arkansas at Monticello on March 8. Her project, “Effects of hybridization on salt tolerance in Glycine max,” placed first in the plant science division. The project was  first-runner up for the overall Best of Fair Award mat the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff Science and Engineering Fair. Diedre Young, Blake’s teacher, won the Soybean Science Challenge Teacher Mentor Award. (Read more about Blake )

Millikan, 16, won the challenge at the Northeast Arkansas Science Fair held at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. Her project, “Uncovering dirt on biofuels,” which compared the efficiency of biofuels drawn from soybeans, mustard seed and sunflowers, also placed second in plant sciences. Andrea Street, Millikan’s teacher, won the Soybean Science Challenge Teacher Mentor Award. (Read more about Millikan )

Reeves, 15, presented “Grow like a pro with probiotics phase 2,” which not only won the Soybean Science Challenge, but also placed third in microbiology at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Science and Engineering Fair. Her teacher, Brian Curd, won the fair’s Soybean Science Challenge Teacher Mentor Award. Using sterilized soil, Reeves tested different strains of probiotics to see which might benefit plants more. (Read more about Reeves )

Webre, 17, won the Central Arkansas Regional Science Fair held March 2 at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Her Soybean Science Challenge winning project, “The effect of genetic modification of soy oil on efficiency of biodiesel,” was also an honorable mention in the fair’s biochemistry division. Webre’s teacher, Chris Luckey, won the Soybean Science Challenge Teacher Mentor Award. (Read more about Webre )

The other regional winners were:

Autumn Bates, 18, a senior at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and Arts, was the Soybean Science Challenge winner at the school’s science fair. Her project, “Bio(logical) control (Control of soybean aphids in Arkansas),” also earned her the Arkansas State University Walton Sustainability Solutions Award. The Walton Award recognizes innovations that address the plant’s sustainability challenge. Her project was a third-place winner in plant sciences at the Junior Academy of Sciences. Bates’ teacher, Jon Ruehle, whose PhD is in plant developmental genetics, won the Soybean Science Challenge Teacher Mentor Award. Bates tested the waters of research early on, when “she started experiments with colored water trying to create a rainbow rose,” her father, Terry Bates said. (Read more about Bates)

In her first-ever science fair, Brigette Crowe, 18 and a senior at Poyen High School, won the Soybean Science Challenge at the Ouachita Mountains Regional Science and Engineering Fair at Mid-America Museum in Hot Springs on March 2. Her project, “Homemade Plastic,” is eligible for the $1,000 Soybean Science Challenge Award at the state level. Crowe said she had “a ton of fun at the science fair even though she had to throw away her mocha frappe and missed the Tesla Coil demonstration.” Amanda Jones, Crowe’s teacher, won the Soybean Science Challenge Teacher Mentor Award. (Read more about Crow)

Taylor Orrell, 16, is the fourth consecutive Arkansas Soybean Science Challenge winner to come out of Emerson High School. Orrell’s, project, “Pharmaceutical Water Pollution in Soybean Production” sought to determine the effect of water-borne medications on soybean production. Her project also won second place in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Division at the regional level. Orrell’s teacher, Connie Orsak, won the Soybean Science Challenge Teacher Mentor Award. (Read more about Orrell )

The Arkansas Soybean Science Challenge began in 2014 as a way to stimulate interest in science, sustainability and agriculture.

“The Soybean Science Challenge allows Arkansas senior high students to participate in scientific discovery that can make a difference to our state and the world,” said Karen Ballard, professor at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service. She is the developer and director of the program. “Soybean farmers help feed the world, and Soybean Science Challenge students not only learn about this important commodity crop, but they also develop an understanding of the challenges and complexity of modern farming.”

“The goal of the Arkansas Soybean Science Challenge is to engage students in ‘real world’ education to support soybean production and agricultural sustainability,” said Gary Sitzer, chairman of the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. “The program also rewards scientific inquiry and discovery that supports the Arkansas soybean industry.”

Information on the 2018-19 Arkansas Soybean Science Challenge will be available in summer 2018. For more information, contact Dr. Karen Ballard at kballard@uaex.edu or Dr. Julie Robinson at jrobinson@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 is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact kballard@uaex.edu  as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. 

About the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board

The Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board was established to improve the sustainability and profitability of the soybean industry in Arkansas. The Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board consists of soybean producers nominated by various producer organizations within Arkansas and appointed by the governor.

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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