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Local students win top awards at regional science fair

Daily Inter Lake | March 12, 2021 12:00 AM

Students from Deer Park, Flathead High, Hedges Elementary and Trinity Lutheran schools won top awards at the annual Montana Tech Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

Sixteen high school students competed in Division 1 and 47 fifth- through eighth-graders competed in Division 2.

In Division 2, projects by Teagen Flint of Deer Park School and Anna Belle Tretter of Trinity Lutheran School were nominated to compete in the Broadcom MASTERS competition. These students may apply for a chance to become one of 30 finalists who will advance to the national competition in Washington, D.C. in October.

For the regional fair, which was held virtually this year due to COVID-19, students submitted papers describing their projects, abstracts and quad charts, in addition to having the option to include videos of project presentations, said Science Fair Co-director Tom Regent of Montana Tech. Students participated in live interviews with judges and there was a learning curve to the virtual format.

“We had a few minor technology glitches,” Regent said. “All the projects were judged even if they were unable to have a virtual live interview with the judges.”

To learn more about each science fair project visit


Environmental sciences

• Keanu Ng, Flathead High School ninth-grader

Project: “Analyzing the Efficacy of Coconut Oil to Remove Microplastics from Water”

Description: “My project is attempting to determine the effectiveness of coconut oil to remove microplastics from water by exploiting the density differentiation between water and oil, as well as the principal behind Van der Waals forces, which explains why plastics and oils are attracted to one another, to suspend microplastics in the oil layer above the denser water in a lab separation funnel allowing the uncontaminated water to drain from the bottom of the separation funnel into a collection flask.”

Awards: Red ribbon; NASA Earth System Science award; Berkeley Pit Education Advisory Committee award.

Medicine and health sciences

• Laynee Vessar, Flathead High School ninth-grader

Project: “Can An Injury Foul Your Range of Motion?”

Description: “This project looks at the range of motion on eleven female freshman basketball players.”

Awards: White ribbon, Montana Technological University Dual Enrollment Program award.

Physics and Astronomy

• Dyson Linden, Flathead High School ninth-grader

Project: “Shedding a Little Light on the Subject: How Liquids Move Through Mask Fabrics”

Description: “I tested various fabrics used in mask making. I sprayed water through these fabrics, onto a sheet of laser light, which illuminated the droplets that made it through. I recorded the illuminated droplets with a video camera. Different trials were compared to each other.”

Awards: Red ribbon, TRIO Student Support Services award.


Earth category

• Anna Belle Tretter, Trinity Lutheran School eighth-grader

Project: “Don’t Fuel the Burn”

Awards: Blue ribbon — silver medal; Montana Learning Center top six scores in grades sixth through eighth; Montana Tech Petroleum Engineering award; Broadcom MASTERS nomination.

Life category

• Alyssa Conrad, Trinity Lutheran School eighth-grader

Project: “Running on Sugar”

Description: “In this project, I tested how blood sugar changes when you eat and exercise.”

Awards: Blue ribbon — bronze

• Teagen Flint, Deer Park School seventh-grader

Project: “Effect of Disinfectants on Bacterial Growth”

Description: “This study tested 9 different disinfectant's ability to control bacterial colony growth.”

Awards: Blue ribbon — gold medal; Montana Learning Center top six scores in grades sixth through eighth; Broadcom MASTERS nomination.

Physical category

• Jacob Linden, Hedges Elementary fifth-grader

Project: “It's On The Nose: Anatomy of a Good Mask”

Description: “I am coming up with an ideal face mask design, taking into consideration materials and design to provide both comfort and effectiveness.”

Awards: Blue ribbon — silver medal

Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or