News & Events

April 25th, 2004

INSTAAR-mentored high school students win science fair prizes

Theresa Denison and Veronica Carrasco, seniors at Centaurus High School, won several prizes in regional science fairs in spring 2004 based on their team research done under the mentorship of INSTAAR graduate student Rose Cory. Their work has helped deduce seasonal changes in the chemistry and redox state of dissolved organic matter in Nymph Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park. The details of such changes have implications for eutrophication and other aquatic processes as well as for remediation technology. They won 1st place in the Earth and Space Science category at the Colorado-Wyoming Junior Academy of Science as well as two prizes at the Boulder Valley Regional Science Fair: Best Project from the CU-Boulder Biochemistry & Chemistry Department, and 2nd place in the Chemistry Division. They also won a prize from the Colorado Chapter of Soil and Water Conservation. They have been invited to participate in the National Science Fair in Washington DC. Theresa is planning to major in biochemistry at Colorado State, while Veronica will attend CU-Boulder.

Tyler Benton, a junior at Stratton High School in eastern Colorado, won science fair prizes for his research mentored by INSTAAR Dendrochronology Lab manager Jeff Lukas. His work used moisture-sensitive tree-ring chronologies, including one that he helped collect near Eldorado Springs, to reconstruct variability in soil moisture for the Platte Climate Division (northeast Colorado) since 1541. His results showed that the past 460 years include at least 7 that probably equaled or exceeded the extreme drought conditions of 2002, as well as several multi-year droughts more severe than the 1930s Dust Bowl. At the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair in April 2004, Tyler received 2nd place in the senior division of Earth and Space Sciences, and also a cash award from the Colorado Scientific Society.