May 05, 2005

21 high school scientists win honors at SIUC

by Paula Davenport


Caption follows story

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Twenty-one high school scientists competed at an extremely rigorous regional science symposium held last month at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The Illinois Junior Science and Humanities Symposium drew 84 students from 21 high schools around the state. Competitors presented scientific research results in either paper or poster form to peers and judges.

The SIUC-hosted event is one of two held in Illinois and one of 48 regional competitions nationwide.

Top competitors in the paper competition were eligible to attend the national symposium, which took place April 27-May 1 in San Diego.

Those who attended the national symposium in California included Linda Martin, director of the statewide IJSHS event and assistant dean of the SIUC College of Science, and high students Anna Czapar of Springfield, Iboro Umana of Carbondale, Anna Dowling of Rochester, Jordan Benson of Deerfield and Andrew Bevis of Herrin. Others attending included Jolynn Smith, assistant regional symposium director, and Dr. and Mrs. Ukeme Umana.

Here are those who finished highest at the regional competition, listed alphabetically by hometown. Entries also include information about their high schools, regional finish, science research topics and parents.


  • Bloomington: Abhi Gulati, Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora, second-place paper, "Coloring Finite Abelian Groups to Avoid Monochromatic Solutions to a Given Equation," son of Rakesh and Radha Gulati.
  • Carbondale: Iboro Umana, Carbondale Community High School, third-place, also went to nationals, "Controlled Release of an Ocular Pain Reliever and an Ocular Antibiotic from Carrageenan Gels," son of Ukeme and Christina Umana. As a result of another student's scheduling conflict, he became the second-place delegate and paper presenter at the national event. In San Diego, he vied with 20 other presenters to become one of 6 semi-finalists to present their research in the medicine and health category.
  • Deerfield: Jordon Benson, Deerfield High School, alternate fourth-place attendee to nationals, "Hull Performance as a Function of Bow Design," son of Michael and Bonnie Benson.
  • De Soto: Andrew Bevis, Herrin High School, alternate fifth-place attendee at nationals, "The Effect of Panax quinquefolium on PC-3 Prostate Cancer Cells," son of Thomas and Brenta Bevis.
  • Freeburg: Ben Harris, Freeburg Community High School, "Relative Efficiencies for Varying Methods of Hydrogen Production from Water Electrolysis," son of Wayne and Allison Harris.
  • Homer Glen: Kelley Swanberg, Lockport Township High School, fourth-place paper, "Task-Specific Self-Efficacy Manipulation and Short-Term Memory Performance," daughter of Michael and Terrie Swanberg.
  • Macomb: Sam Espahbodi, Macomb High School, fifth-place paper, "Application of Thermodynamic Principles to Waterblock Design," son of Hassan and Pouran Espahbodi.
  • Rochester: Anna Dowling, Rochester High School, alternate third-place attendee at nationals, "Corn By-Products as Insulation to Conserve Energy," daughter of David and Cory Dowling.
  • Springfield: Anna Czapar, Rochester High School, first-place paper, "Effectiveness of Black Walnut Extract as a Natural Herbicide for Corn and Soybean Production," daughter of George and Sally Czapar. In San Diego, she joined 13 others who presented research in the environmental and earth sciences category.

Among the National JSHS highlights for the students in California were talks by Robert Ballard, the explorer who discovered the wreckage of the RMS Titanic, and visits to the world-class San Diego Zoo and a variety of nearby military sites and research centers.

A closer look at those who presented posters at the regional, listed alphabetically by hometown, along with their high schools, science research topics and parents names:

  • Carbondale: Daniel Spector, Carbondale Community High School, "Corn Pith as a Packaging Material," son of Scott Spector and Kathleen Pericak-Spector.

Kashyap Tadisina, Carbondale Community High School, "Multicellular Stalk-like Structures in E. coli," son of Suresh Tadisina and Meera Komarraju.

  • Delavan: Gina McConnell, Delavan High School, "Propylene Glycol vs. Ethylene Glycol," daughter of Steven and Tracie McConnell.

Kayla Olson, Delavan High School, "Bacterial Pollution in Recreational Waters," daughter of Lori Olson.

Morgan Rummel, Delavan High School, first place poster with Holly Wonders, "The Effects of Increased Incubation Temperatures on Tumor Genesis Caused by Agrobacterium tumefaciens," daughter of Steven and Tracie McConnell.

  • LaMoille: Neil Gebhardt, St. Bede Academy, "Antenna Resonance," son of Mark and Diane Gebhardt.
  • Macomb: Andrea Cumbie, Macomb Senior High School, "The Application of the Titius-Bode Law to Smaller Orbiting Bodies of the Solar System," daughter of Michael and Diane Cumbie.

Nathan Reem, Macomb Senior High School, "Effects of Common Pollution on Maize Growth," son of David and Susan Reem.

  • Peru: Adam Gnidovec, St. Bede Academy, "Greensand: Nature's Filter," son of Gary and Jane Gnidovec.

Michael Gnidovec, St. Bede Academy, "Aminophthalylhydrazide: What the Naked Eye Cannot See," son of Gary and Jane Gnidovec.

  • Spring Valley: Adam Ladgenski, St. Bede Academy, "Tests of the Comparative Burning Qualities of the Biomass Fuels: Shelled Corn and Wood Pellets" son of Jim and Debb Ladgenski.
  • Stanford: Holly Wonders, Delavan High School, first place poster with Morgan Rummel, "Propylene Glycol vs. Ethylene Glycol," daughter of Edward and Mary Kay Wonders.

SIUC partners with the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force and the Academy of Applied Science to host the event on campus.

Serving others is among the goals of "Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment," the master plan the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary.

(Caption: Science stars— Five jubilant Illinois high school students — top finishers at an April science competition at Southern Illinois University Carbondale — also participated in the National Junior Science Symposium in San Diego.

Pictured from left are: Jordan Benson of Deerfield High School, Andrew Bevis of Herrin High School, Iboro Umana of Carbondale Community High School, and Anna Czapar and Anna Dowling, both of Rochester High School.)

Photo provided