Iowa Teens Receive Top Honors at Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair

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AMES, Iowa – Two teenagers from Iowa received awards at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair, held May 8-13 in Atlanta, Georgia. The world’s largest global high school competition brought together 1,750 young scientists representing 49 states and 63 countries, regions and territories around the world.

Ten finalists and five observers from Iowa participated in the event. These young people were chosen based on their outstanding STEM research at the Eastern or Western Regional Fairs, or at the Iowa Science and Technology Fair hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach 4 -H Youth Development.

Amara Orth, 17, of Lewis Central High School, Council Bluffs, received a Special First Prize from the Acoustical Association and a $1,500 scholarship for her project, ‘Secret Sounds of Bees: Analysis of Honey Bee Vibroacoustics using Hidden Markov Models”. She also placed third in the animal science category and received a $1,000 scholarship. Amara plans to attend Sanford University in California next year to major in Earth Systems.

Elizabeth (Libby) Knipper, 17, of Beckman Catholic High School in Dyersville, won fourth place in the materials science category and received a $500 scholarship for her project titled “Mechanical Properties of Antimicrobial Storage Films Phase II Starch-Based Plastic Foods”. Libby is a junior this year.

“These exceptionally talented Regeneron ISEF finalists are some of the brightest minds in the world and are our greatest hope for addressing global challenges in the future, said Dr. George D. Yancopoulos, co-founder, president and chief scientific officer of Regenerate. “Science is essential to the survival of our society, and these finalists have unlimited potential to positively impact the world. I commend them for their hard work and look forward to seeing what they accomplish in their scientific journeys.

Elizabeth (Libby) Knipper with her Regeneron ISEF project.For the first time since 2019, ISEF finalists competed in person. More than half of the finalists gathered in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center and the remaining finalists participated virtually.

ISEF alumni have gone on to groundbreaking careers in science and engineering and have won some of the most prestigious accolades, including National Medal of Science recipients, MacArthur Foundation Scholars, members of the National Academy of Sciences and inductees of the National Academy of Engineering.

For more information about ISEF or SSTFI, please visit https://www.extension.iastate.edu/4h or contact your county Iowa State University Extension and Outreach office.

Photo captions

Amara Orth, of Lewis Central High School, Council Bluffs, received a special first place award from the Acoustical Association.

Elizabeth (Libby) Knipper of Beckman Catholic High School in Dyersville received fourth place in the materials science category.

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