June 4th, 2018

GiS Spotlight: Junior Scientist Award winners Graham, Joshua, Lindsey, and Catherine

The Junior Scientist Award recognizes the top five outstanding proposals by middle school teams. Graham Speidel (13), Joshua Berube (14), Lindsey Gannon (14), and Catherine Terelak (14) from Saints Academy in Beverly, Massachusetts, met for a weekly lunch with a few of their classmates to work on both teams' Genes in Space proposals. Their team and their Junior Scientist Award winning proposal was recently featured in Beverly Patch. Here they discuss their Genes in Space project.

JSA 2018 Graham, Joshua, Lindsey, and Catherine with their classmates.

Briefly explain your experiment:

Our project researched the effectiveness of manipulating the plant gene that regulates the opening and closing of the stomata to decrease water loss. Water loss is a large scale issue in the agricultural world and this experiment could help solve that problem.

Why did you choose to participate in Genes in Space?

We decided to participate this year because we each had a passion for science and were excited to expand our knowledge. When our teacher (Ms. Pomeroy) presented the idea of participating in Genes in Space, we realized it was a great opportunity to learn more about genetics and to work as a team.  

How did you choose your topic?

Our group agreed that water loss in crops was a valuable problem to investigate because of its implications in the agricultural world and in future space colonization endeavors. When the genes in the stomata are manipulated, drought resistant crops can be created and a steady supply of food can exist in different parts of the world and even in space.

What did you gain by participating in Genes in Space?

By participating in this competition, we learned collaboration and time-management skills as well as expanding our knowledge in the field of genetics.

Do you have any advice for future Genes in Space contestants?

Choose a topic that you are truly interested in so that you can develop your skills in that particular topic. Start early so that you are able to revise your project and make sure that it is as good as you can make it. 

JSA 2018

Graham Speidel (13), Joshua Berube (14), Lindsey Gannon (14), and Catherine Terelak (14) with classmates Abigail Booth (14), Max Sperry (14), Emma Perry (14), and Aria Rahimi (14)