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Genetics students compete in in bio expo

SeaVuria category opens opportunities 

Ellery Lloyd, Staff Reporter
Originally published June 2, 2015

Penny PagelsSeniors Paloma Roberts-Buceta and Tiara Adler show off their Bio Expo project, "The Rising Threat of Malaria."

Penny Pagels

Seniors Paloma Roberts-Buceta and Tiara Adler show off their Bio Expo project, “The Rising Threat of Malaria.”

On May 27, students in advanced biology classes, mainly genetics, are competing in the Student Bio Expo at Shoreline Community College. Students who participate in the Bio Expo compete against other students in the region. “It’s a competition in the Puget Sound area but there are schools from eastern Washington as well, so there’s going to be about 380 students competing,” genetics teacher Penny Pagles said.

The students competing come up with a project in one of 11 categories ranging from lab research and molecular modeling, to drama and dance. Students address a scientific idea through their chosen category.

Most students competing in the expo have been working on their projects since October. “A lot of my students write a research paper in the fall semester, on a genetic disease, so a lot of students take that research paper and turn it into their bio expo project,” Pagles said.

This year a new category, SeaVuria, has been introduced. The category challenges students to turn their project into a collaboration between them and the organization SeaVuria, which connects Washington State students with students in Kenya to help communities struggling with malaria.

“It involves a collaborative project between us and a team of girls from Bura Girls High School in Kenya,” Biotech student Paloma Roberts-Buceta said. Roberts-Buceta and Tiara Adler are at work on their Bio Expo project in the SeaVuria category. For their project they have been focusing on the research aspect of the collaboration, talking to scientists and looking at recent studies on malaria vaccines.

To help earn money to send lab equipment to the Bura Girls High School, Roberts-Buceta and Adler have started a fundraiser. “They don’t have a lot of equipment to do labs, and research so we’re just going to send them some basic stuff,” Roberts-B said.

“The head of the category goes to Kenya, SeaVuria is actually her organization, she’s set up satellites so they have wifi there, so we’ve skyped them, ” Adler said.

“The girls are really nice, they’re all really determined to do well in school and very intellectually curious,” Adler said.

Adler and Roberts-Buceta won first place for their project in the SeaVuria category “The Rising Threat of Malaria”. In the drama and dance category Harper Byers, Gabby Kimmerly and Elizabeth Osborn won first place for their project “Debunked!”. June Lindberg, Linda Stewart and Peter Windus also won first place in the music category for their project “The Shape Shifting Chronicles of Sickle Cell Disease”.

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Genetics students compete in in bio expo