A.D. Johnston earns first place in the 28th annual Bioathlon

A.D. Johnston team photoThe 28th annual Department of Biological Sciences Bioathlon for high school biology students was held on Wednesday at Michigan Tech. Simultaneously, a workshop was held for the accompanying biology teachers.

The Bioathlon serves as a means to stimulate interest and problem-solving in biology among our area youth. Teams from 12 Upper Peninsula high schools participated.

The team winning was A.D. Johnston High School in Bessemer. Team members were Devon Byers, Andy Aspinwall, Abbey Johnson and Sydney Wittla-Sprague. The Instructor is David Rowe.

Second place went to Marquette, third place was Calumet.

Each team was composed of four students who have no formal class work in biology beyond the traditional sophomore general biology course. All teams tackled these same four problems:

  • Dissection: Designed by Biological Sciences graduate student Ian Greenlund and assisted by undergraduate Beth Chaney. The activity was the dissection of a preserved vertebrate animal with the identification of organs or structures required.
  • Microbiology: Designed by Biological Sciences graduate student Lukai Zhai, assisted by graduate student Rupsa Basu. This activity required students to identify the genus and species of each unknown microorganism by performing three basic microbiology techniques for each unknown.
  • Field Identification: Designed by Biological Sciences graduate student Taylor Zallek assisted by graduate students Sunflower Wilson and Bradley Wells. This activity involved a search for some common organisms or their parts during a brief field trip.
  • Medical Laboratory Science: designed by undergraduate Taylor Tienhaara and assisted by medical laboratory science undergraduate students, Samantha Doyle, Kat Wheeler and Audri Mills. This activity had students competing in hematology, blood banking and donation, urinalysis and laboratory safety.

Through these exercises, students needed to demonstrate organizational skills, follow instructions, show a knowledge of facts and concepts, and exhibit laboratory skills and creativity.

Each member of the first-place team received $200 and a partial scholarship for either forensic science or genetic modification and biotechnology explorations through Michigan Tech’s Summer Youth Programs.

Members of the second-place team received $100 and members of the third-place team received $50.

Members of the top three teams also received plaques. All students participating in the competition received a certificate of participation and a Bioathlon T-shirt.

Marc Madigan, academic advisor in biological sciences, organized an activity for the teachers. He shared forensic science activities that teachers can incorporate into their classrooms.

To learn more about Bioathlon click here.

Bioathlon 2017 Logo


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