Many students compete in local, state, and national science fair competitions each year.
During the 2016-2017 school year, ASMS junior Leanne Jeong received an all-expenses paid, direct invitation to the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) held in Los Angeles, Calif. Before attending ISEF in May 2017, Jeong competed at the Regional Science Fair in Mobile and the Alabama State Science Fair in Huntsville.
Jeong spent more than 75 hours during the fall and winter terms working on her project titled “The Tracking Seasonal Changes of Specific Pathogenic Bacteria Around Mobile Bay” with the support of ASMS Biology Instructor Dr. Natalie Ortell.
“Dr. Ortell has given me so much support and encouragement throughout the whole process of entering the science fair and doing my research,” Jeong says. “With her vast knowledge on microbiology, she helped me with my project and made sure that I understood everything. I am so thankful for her because she always believed in me, gave me advice for interviews, and showed me how exciting microbiology is.”
At the Mobile Regional Science Fair, Jeong placed first in the microbiology category and received a 4-year tuition scholarship to the University of South Alabama. She placed third at the Alabama State Science Fair in the cellular and molecular biology/microbiology category and received five special awards, including the American Society of Microbiology Award, Arizona State University: Rob and Melanie Walton Sustainability Solution Initiative Award, “Senior Best in Category for Microbiology” from the Boeing Company, “Senior Runner-up” from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, and “Best In Show” from the Association for Women Geoscientists. At the ISEF competition, Jeong was one of three students awarded a full scholarship to Florida Institute of Technology after competing with more than 1,700 students.