With gloves on and goggles in place, over 60 high school students from across the UP competed in Michigan Techâ??s 25th annual biological sciences Bioathalon.
From microbiology, to ecology, and even anatomy, students learned about the different fields of biology by conducting comprehensive lab experiments: something they donâ??t normally get to do in the classroom.
â??High school students arenâ??t usually exposed to microbiology before college, so I thought they could get a taste of it,â?? said Bioathalon organizer, Emily Geiger.
Students from Ironwood, West Iron County, Watersmeet, Bessemer, Negaunee, Marquette, Lâ??Anse, Lake Linden, Adams Township, Westwood, Houghton, Hancock, Dollar Bay, Chassell, Calumet, and Baraga made up teams of four in the competition.
Many of the students say they hope to make a career in biological sciences.
â??Getting out of school and just having an entire day dedicated to biology was just like a trip to the candy store,â?? said Calumet High School freshman, Hayley Williams.
â??Iâ??m interested in pursuing biology as a career, and I wanted to learn more about it and see what field specifically that I wanted to go into,â?? added Lake Linden-Hubbell High School sophomore, Peyton Gast.
Parts of the competition included identifying unknown organisms under a microscope, and even dissecting a turtle to identify its organs.
â??Itâ??s more hands-on, and you can do more interesting things, and you get to learn more in-depth about things by doing it yourself,â?? said Gast.
At the end of the day, the top three teams received a cash prize and a plaque. In first place was Hancock High Schoolâ??s team of Shannon Nulf, Ruth Venegus, Mary Jarvis, and Alexis Aho. The second place team from Ironwoodâ??s L.L. Wright High School included Margaret Meyer, Kathleen Mieloszyk, Corissa Mattson, and Leah Braucher. In third place was West Iron County High Schoolâ??s team of Madiline McNamara, Emmy Kinner, Michelle Wiegand, and Izaya Bengry.
Though the activities were meant as a competition between schools, it was also an opportunity for the students to experience something out of the norm from their usual classes.
â??It gives kids a chance to see what theyâ??re good at,â?? said Williams. â??There arenâ??t a lot of people in the science world, especially females, and I think itâ??s really good for people to see all this stuff hands-on instead of just learning about it in a textbook.â??
â??I hope that they get a taste of different fields in biology that they can explore for future careers,â?? added Geiger.