Rocky Fork Enterprise

Science Academy

Merickel wins two regional awards, advances to nationals

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Emily Merickel (left), standing with Dr. Emilio Duran, director of Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, designed and tested a prototype self-contained oxygen-generating device using algae and light.

Gahanna Lincoln High School Science Academy student Emily Merickel has qualified to compete in the 52nd National Junior Science & Humanities Symposium on April 23-27 in Washington, D.C.

Merickel, 18, placed fifth for $250 in the Ohio Junior Science and Humanities Symposium at Bowling Green State University on March 20-22, thus qualifying for nationals.

She also won another $250 and the prestigious Thomas Alva Edison Award, given each year to the project deemed by judges to be the most innovative and creative.

Merickel's prototype device uses algae to produce oxygen and scrub carbon dioxide from an enclosed environment.

The project was able to keep two mice alive and well for more than 12 hours by using algae and light to produce oxygen for the mice and remove carbon dioxide gas produced during cellular respiration.

Merickel's project involved nearly 200 hours of work, building and testing the prototype, and even more time writing a detailed scientific paper of about 50 pages.

"This honor is well-deserved," said Fred Donelson, Gahanna Science Academy coordinator. "Emily embodies the hard work that we value so much at Gahanna in our science program.

"No student has worked any harder than her this year, and it is exciting when that hard work is rewarded. She made our Science Academy proud."

He said it's unusual to earn two awards at the prestigious science competition, which hands out only eight total awards for paper presentations.

Merickel is the daughter of Andrew and Jennifer Merickel.

Also presenting papers at the symposium, which draws students from around the state, were Laura Stegner, Christian Grimme and Matthew Zianni.

Ross Candor also received an honorable mention for his poster presentation on his prototype exoskeleton device.

Other GLHS Science Academy students presenting posters were Zach Horn, Sibi Sengottuval and Alex Cline.

The Junior Science and Humanities Symposia program promotes original research and experimentation in the sciences, engineering and mathematics at the high school level and publicly recognizes students for outstanding achievement. By connecting talented students, their teachers and research professionals at affiliated symposia and by rewarding research excellence, JSHS is intended to widen the pool of trained talent prepared to conduct research and development vital to the nation, according to the organization's website:

The National JSHS, sponsored by the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force, will bring together 230 high school students who qualify for attendance by submitting and presenting original scientific research papers in regional symposia held at universities nationwide.

Regional delegates are invited to present their research in poster sessions Friday, April 25, at the USA Science & Engineering Festival at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Lockheed Martin is the presenting host sponsor of the festival, along with a grassroots collaboration of more than 1,000 leading science and engineering corporations in the United States.

Activities for the participants will include exhibitor participation in the Grand Finale Expo on April 26-27 to feature Army, Navy and Air Force STEM programs and innovative, hands-on technology displays, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense.