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Tori Hemstreet to represent Greyhills Academy at National science competition

Tori Hemstreet, a junior at Greyhills Academy High School, pictured at the Arizona Junior Science and Humanities Symposium Feb. 28 in Mesa, Arizona. (Submitted photo)

Tori Hemstreet, a junior at Greyhills Academy High School, pictured at the Arizona Junior Science and Humanities Symposium Feb. 28 in Mesa, Arizona. (Submitted photo)

TUBA CITY, Ariz. — Greyhills Academy High School junior, Tori Hemstreet, is on her way to Norfolk, Virginia, to represent her school at the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium scheduled April 15-18.

Hemstreet was selected as one of the top six finalists for her oral presentation at the Arizona Junior Science and Humanities Symposium Feb. 28 which advanced her to the national competition. At the national competition, she will present her research and compete for cash awards along with other regional delegates.

According to the National Symposium, the event brings together 230 high school students who qualified by submitting and presenting original scientific research papers in regional symposia held at universities nationwide. Approximately 130 high school teachers, mentors, university faculty, ranking military guests and others also attend and join in encouraging the future generations of scientists and engineers in celebrating student achievement in the sciences.

Reny Mathew, biology instructor and STEM sponsor at Greyhills Academy, explained they had two research projects that were registered and qualified to be orally presented at the regional competition in February, projects by Hemstreet and Sykora Chief.

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Greyhills Academy High School students attended the Arizona Junior Science and Humanities Symposium Feb. 28 at the campus of Arizona State University in Mesa, Arizona. From left, Aryanna Secakuku, Sykora Chief, Tori Hemstreet and Marina Rodriguez. (Submitted photo)

Hemstreet’s project was in the engineering and technology category and Chief’s was in the biomedical sciences category.

Mathew explained Hemstreet’s project determined whether natural wood-based charcoals such as pine and juniper were just as effective as air filtration as activated charcoal.

“A controlled environment with an air filter that uses charcoal was built,” she said.

“An air sensor that measures the particulate matter in the air due to the smoke was used to collect data. The experiment was conducted mainly at home and school.”

Chief’s project focused on exploring the antimicrobial activity of active sagebrush components derived from sagebrush leaves and stem.

“The extract was tested for their antibacterial activity against two nonpathogenic bacteria,” said Mathew. “The wild sage was gathered around the Tuba City-area in Arizona and the project was conducted locally.”

Mathew said the oral presentations were 12 minutes long and students had to take six minute questions from judges.

“Tori and Sykora stayed within 12 minutes and answered their questions with much confidence expressing their expertise in their area of research and the judges gave them positive remarks,” she said. “Sykora teamed up with Aryanna Secakuku and Ethan Billie, and Tori did her project with Marina Rodriquez.”

Mathew said she is proud of her students and congratulates them.

“This was our first time entering the Arizona Junior Science and Humanities Symposium,” she said. “The competition was very intense and I do appreciate our young brilliant minds taking up the challenge to find a solution to a problem in their community.”

“I am so impressed by their enthusiasm, creativity and dedication, and I honestly believe it will take them to greater heights,” she added.

Mathew thanks the families of the students, the faculty and staff for supporting the research projects. She also thanks the Society for Science and Public STEM Research Grant.

“I wish Tori all the best in her poster presentation at the national symposium in Virginia,” she said.

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