Gov. Markell announces BioGENEius Challenge, Celebration of Science winners

9:51 a.m., April 14, 2016–Gov. Jack Markell joined Kelvin Lee, director of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute (DBI), to recognize Delaware students who did exceptional life science research and honor the teachers who have positively influenced their students to strive for great achievements in the sciences on Wednesday, April 6.

During the event, awards were presented to the DBI Celebration of Science middle school winners and the Delaware BioGENEius Challenge finalists, honorable mention recipients, and the 2016 state winner.

The DBI Celebration of Science award is given to middle school students who did extraordinary research in the field of life sciences and the Delaware BioGENEius Challenge is a competition for high school students throughout the state who demonstrate an exemplary understanding of biotechnology through science research.

Awardees were chosen from students who participated in the three Delaware county science fairs in Sussex, New Castle and Kent. At the 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.

The awardees included Claire Bolarinwa, Adithya Dattatri, Meghan Hale, Janae Hartman, Ben Koly, Anna Morrione, Tessa McDonough, Connor Sweeney, Sebastian Turman, and Catherine Yu. The students represented Charter School of Wilmington, Mariner Middle School, Millsboro Middle School, Springer Middle School and Ursuline Academy.

After encouraging each student to share an impromptu overview of their project, Markell said, “This is one of my favorite events to come to every year because I get an opportunity to meet some of Delaware’s brightest rising stars who might one day discover the cure to cancer, solve our energy crisis or even alleviate hunger.”

Markell continued by thanking the teachers and parents for being supportive of these young adults, saying, “It is because of your time and encouragement these students are able to rise to the top.”

The Delaware BioGENEius Challenge winner – Connor Sweeney – will go on to compete and represent the state at the International BioGENEius Challenge, held in conjunction with the 2016 BIO International Convention, June 5-8 in San Francisco.

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 Chris Havrilla, Woodbridge High School; Glenn Heffner, Charter School of Wilmington; and Jeremy Morton, Delaware School for the Deaf. They will each receive an all-expense paid trip to the 2017 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference on science education.

The Delaware BioGENEius Challenge is sponsored by the AstraZeneca, DuPont, Fraunhofer USA, W.L. Gore and 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.

Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson

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