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School News: Junior wins first prize and scholarship at State Science Fair

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August 24, 2021: After taking first place at the McNicholas Science Fair and earning a $3000 scholarship at the Regional Science Fair, junior Gia Guessford presented her project at the State Science Fair this summer where she scored a superior rating and won first prize for the Milt Austin Aquatic Science Award. In addition, Gia received a scholarship to The Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory where she will have the opportunity to earn college credit through hands-on study experiences on Lake Erie.

Gia’s passion about marine life conservation led to her project whose goal was to find an alternate solution to the unsuccessful means that are currently being used to clear invasive fish from waterways. She explored the question: Can goldfish be trained to move to a specific location using sound? In the course of her research, Gia worked with a top marine biologist from the University of Maryland and an animal behaviorist from the University of Cincinnati, as well as a professional Hollywood animal trainer.

Science teacher Ms. Mary Dennemann said, “Gia’s work is creative, thorough, and relevant to today’s society where invasive species threaten almost every ecosystem on Earth. Gia’s project not only helped her make connections to experts in scientific research, but also started her on a path to exploring and finding solutions to real-world problems.”

“I learned so much about fish behavior, how sound works, how to build a hydrophone, how the environment is affected, and most importantly, how to collaborate with scientists in the real world,” Gia said. “I hope that by continuing my education [through the scholarships I earned], I can help make others aware of what is happening to the marine life that supports the environment we live in, and to do my part to help keep these species thriving!”

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