HOUGHTON - Despite a sprinkling of rain outside and an accidental fire alarm inside, it was a productive day of events at the 23rd annual Bioathlon at Michigan Technological University Wednesday.
Held in two buildings on campus this year, as well as on the Tech Trails, the Bioathlon featured a series of competitions for groups of students as well as workshops for teachers.
In the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Building, students participated in clinical lab sciences and dissection. In the Dow Building, the students worked with molecular biology. On the Tech Trails, the students participated in field identification.
Stacey Kukkonen/Daily Mining Gazette
Left, Ann Ruohonen, and Alexis Pyykkonen from Jeffers High School work together during on the clinical lab science activity at the 23rd annual Bioathlon at Michigan Technological University Wednesday.
"I was OK with collecting the spiders," said Winter Keefer, from Baraga Area Schools. "But I'll let my group members do the dissection."
Keefer, her twin sister Mackenzie Keefer, Shawn Deiderich and Kelly Bedner represented Baraga Area Schools.
"This is our first time doing dissection," Mackenzie Keefer said.
All schools participated in the events Wednesday and each member of the first-place team, which this year is from West Iron County High School and includes Aren Newby, Megan Eagloski, Madeline Waara and Sydney Wojdula, received a $200 U.S. savings bond. The second-place team members, from Hancock Central High School, which includes Laura Berg, Jacob Jarvis, William Lucier and Drew Stockero, received $100 U.S. savings bonds and each member of the other second-place team, from Ironwood High School, which includes Katie Piispanen, Neva Bentley, Robert Burchell and Jared Joki, earned $50 U.S. savings bonds. Plaques were also awarded to teams and every student participating received a certificate of participation and a Bioathlon T-shirt.
"We're trying to encourage them to have an interest in science and math," said Bioathlon coordinator Jeff Lewin. "We're trying to get them to move into those fields."
The event also creates some exposure for Michigan Tech and familiarizes students with the university.
Additionally, the clinical lab science activity was designed by a handful of undergraduate women at Tech, including Kelly Roxbury, Brianna Schneider, Ana Vuk and Claire Meneguzzo.
"We hope to empower high school females to explore careers in science and math," Lewin said. "It helps to empower young women."
The dissection activity was designed by John Durocher, Ph.D.; the molecular biology experiment was designed by Stephanie Groves, Ph.D.; and the field identification was designed by Ashley Coble, M.S. candidate.
Participating schools included Baraga Area Schools, Bessemer Area Schools, Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium & Keweenaw, Chassell Township Schools, Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Schools, Hancock Public Schools, Houghton-Portage Township Schools, Ironwood Schools, Adams Township Schools, Lake Linden-Hubbell Schools, L'Anse Area Schools, Negaunee Schools, NICE?Community Schools, Wakefield Schools, Watersmeet Schools and West Iron County Schools.
Funding is provided by Michigan Tech Admissions, the department of biological sciences, the Michigan Tech Fund and alumni Mark Cowen, M.D.; Robert C. and Kathryn DellAngelo, M.D.; and Olive Kimball, D.Ed., Ph.D.