This news release describes past events and should be used for historical purposes only. Please note date of release.

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
News Bureau • Schofield Hall 201Eau Claire, WI 54702
phone: (715) 836-4741
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Wisconsin Science Talent Search
Winners Announced

MAILED: June 11, 2001

         EAU CLAIRE - The winners of this year’s Wisconsin Science Talent Search, which is headquartered at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, were recently announced. Gary Huang of Appleton was awarded first place. Emily Dalhberg, Siren, and Nicole Aulik, Newton, tied for second place.
         A panel of professors at UW-Eau Claire judged the entries based on originality, scientific significance, independence, complexity of techniques, individual comprehension, science potential, data analysis and writing skills. Each of the winning participants received a gift certificate for Border’s Books and Music and a certificate of participation.
         Four other Wisconsin students, all from Valders High School, received certificates of participation: Andrea Dugan, Valders, Theresa Brandl, Cato, Stefanie Meives, Reedsville, and Dawn Preston, Cato.
         Participants also competed nationally in the 2001 Intel Science Talent Search, America’s oldest and most highly regarded science contest for high school seniors. Their projects were among a total of 1,592 entries that represented over 500 high schools in 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and an American overseas school in France.
         Huang was awarded semifinalist standing at the national level. He was one of the top 300 applicants and received a $1,000 prize. In addition, his school, Appleton West High School, received $1,000 to be used to support the school’s science and math education programs.
         Huang’s entry, titled “Application of Wavelet Analysis to Distance Fields,” involved writing computer code to apply wavelet analysis to distance fields in order to reduce the storage size of computer graphics. Huang was able to demonstrate a storage size reduction of 80 percent or more without error in the shapes of the images represented by the distance fields. His mentor was Thouis Jones, a technical staff member of the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratory in Cambridge, Mass. Most of his research was done during the summer of 2000 while he attended the Research Science Institute at the Cambridge Research Center.
         Dahlberg attends Siren High School. For her entry, titled “A Possible Correlation Between Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and High Cholesterol,” she assisted in a study of 169 people under the age of 50 to attempt to determine if a correlation exists between CMV and high cholesterol. Previous studies have focused only on elderly patients. Her research seemed to indicate a possible correlation for women but not for men. Future studies on a larger sample of patients are needed before a strong case for a direct correlation is made. Dahlberg’s mentors were Dr. Kent Froberg and Nicole Seacott, both of the pathology department at the University of Minnesota, School of Medicine, Duluth. Dahlberg also acknowledged the assistance of her biology teacher, Douglas Bunton.
         Aulik attends Valders High School. Her entry, titled “The Effect of Terbufos on the Common Annelid: Eisenia Fetida,” involved applying various amounts of terbufos (a widely-used insecticide/nematicide used by farmers to fight against wireworm, seed corn maggots, white grubs, and corn root worm larvae) to worm beds containing Eisenia Fetida (red worms). Her study showing that terbufos did have a definite negative effect on the health of the red worms may assist low-till farmers with future pesticide choices. Aulik’s project supervisor was James Evans, her chemistry teacher.
         Dugan’s entry, titled “The Study of the Effects of Carbon Dioxide on Phaseolous Vulgaris Through Transpiration,” involved studying the amount of water released by plants, a good indicator of plant health, as the amount of carbon dioxide gas increased. Her project was inspired by concern over increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere due to the burning of fossil fuels. Dugan found that as the amount of gas increased, the amount of transpiration decreased, along with the health of the plants. Her project supervisors were science teachers Evans and Jeffrey Griffey.
         Brandl’s entry, titled: “Decaffeination of Unroasted Coffee Beans Utilizing Liquid Nitrogen,” attempted to show that coffee beans could be decaffeinated using liquid nitrogen, a less-expensive process than the liquid carbon dioxide method currently used in the coffee industry. Her analysis showed that caffeine may have been in the resulting residue, but further testing was needed to determine how much caffeine was left in the coffee beans. Evans supervised her project.
         Meives’ entry, titled “Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in the Manitowoc River, Manitowoc, Wisconsin,” involved collecting river sediment samples and analyzing them for the presence of PCBs. Results did show some contamination of the river soil sediment. Meives was hoping that by mapping where the concentration of PCBs was highest, it might be possible in the future to trace the origin of the contamination. Evans was her project supervisor. She also acknowledged the assistance of Griffey, agriculture, and Mr. Kincher, science.
         Preston’s entry, titled “Corn Seed,” attempted to show that corn seed soaked in water for various amounts of time before planting would sprout sooner than seeds not soaked in water. Preston made creative use of art farm containers as seedbeds so she could watch the progress of the sprouting. Evans supervised her project.
         The Intel and Wisconsin Science Talent Searches take place each year. The application for next year’s competition is late November.
         More information can be found on the Web at

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Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741

Updated: June 11, 2001