Gov. Markell announces Delaware BioGENEius Challenge winners

8:57 a.m., April 17, 2015–Gov. Jack Markell joined Kelvin Lee, director of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute (DBI), to recognize the finalists, an honorable mention awardee and three winners of the Delaware BioGENEius Challenge on Tuesday, April 14.

The Delaware BioGENEius Challenge is a competition for high school students throughout the state who demonstrate an exemplary understanding of biotechnology through science research projects.

Finalists were chosen from students who participated in the Sussex County Science Fair, New Castle County Science Expo and the Kent County Science Fair.

The 2015 Delaware finalists included Jaya Bali, Colden Fees, Ben Fickes, Francisco Hernandez, Will Imbrie-Moore, Mikayla Ockels, Brian Shannon, Shalini Sundar, Erin Warren and Lance White. The students represented Cape Henlopen High School, Charter School of Wilmington, St. Andrew’s School, Sussex Academy, and Sussex Central High School.

After encouraging each student to share an impromptu overview of their project, Markell said, “I always enjoy this event and hearing about the research these students are doing. I am excited by the practical applications of the research to answer research questions related to human health, agriculture, and the environment.”

Markell continued, saying, “Each of you should be proud of the good work you are doing.”

The Delaware BioGENEius Challenge winners — Bali, Hernandez and Ockels — will go on to compete and represent the state at the U.S. National BioGENEius Challenge, held in conjunction with the 2015 BIO International Convention, June 15-18 in Philadelphia.

At the local, national and international competitions, students are evaluated on the quality of their research and posters, as well as on their responses to questions relating to their scientific knowledge and potential commercial applications of their research.

Along with the students, three teachers were recognized for their outstanding contribution in bringing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education to their classroom.

The teachers, nominated by the students, were Glenn Hartman, Archmere Academy; Esther Kernosh, Cape Henlopen High School; and Rose Lounsbury, Charter School of Wilmington. They will each receive an all-expense paid trip to the 2016 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference on science education.

The Delaware BioGENEius Challenge is sponsored by the AstraZeneca, Biotechnology Institute, DuPont, Fraunhofer USA, QPS, Siemens, W.L. Gore & Associates and We Work For Health.

For more information on the Delaware Biotechnology Institute or the Delaware BioGENEius Challenge, see the DBI website.

About Delaware BioGENEius

The BioGENEius Challenges is an opportunity for high school students to compete on an international stage with some of the brightest scientific minds in the world. It is hosted by The Biotechnology Institute, headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Delaware BioGENEius Challenge is coordinated by the Delaware Biotechnology Institute.

Local Delaware students in grades 9-12 can compete in the Delaware BioGENEius Challenge, which is held in conjunction with three local science fairs – the New Castle County Science Expo, the Kent County Science Fair, and the Sussex County Science Fair.

About Delaware Biotechnology Institute:

The Delaware Biotechnology Institute is a partnership among government, academia and industry to help establish the First State as a center of excellence in biotechnology and the life sciences.

DBI promotes research, education and technology transfer for biotechnology applications to the benefit of the environment, agriculture and human health.

Article by Allie Sethman

Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson

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