Area Students Compete Virtually in the 60th Annual Mohican District Science Day

Student presenters included Colin Agnes and Jordan Allshouse (Northwestern High School).


05/28/2020 ASHLAND, Ohio -- Many area students were among the 117 students from 26 area schools plus homeschoolers who competed in the 60th annual Mohican District Science Day.  Sponsored by the Mohican District Junior Division of the Ohio Academy of Science and hosted by Ashland University since 1960, the event was held online for the first time due to the cancellation of the face-to-face event in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Students uploaded copies of their reports, photos of their project boards, and short video presentations for judges to evaluate.

According to Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer, Trustees' Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Ashland University and Science Day director, “We were very pleased with the number of students who chose to do the extra work to participate in this year’s online fair.  Students do hands-on experiments, collect and analyze data and draw conclusions, rather than just reading and reporting what someone else has done. Many projects are original and creative.  It is always great to see the enthusiasm that these students have for doing science.”

Weidenhamer thanked the approximately 60 local judges from education, industry, business and medical professions who helped to judge the projects, as well as  Mohican District Science Council President Jeff Steele and Council members, who worked countless hours to make this event a success.  He also stressed that, “this event would not be a successful and rewarding experience for our local students without the hard work and commitment of science teachers and the support of their school districts in fostering increased science, technology, engineering, and mathematics literacy.”

All students earning a superior ranking at the District Science Day are eligible to participate in the State Science Day, which is also being held online this year for the first time

For school awards, Northwestern High School had the most superiors (4) and also the highest percentage (33 percent) of superiors for the high school division.  Those earning superior rankings included Colin Agnes and Jordan Allshouse, “The ChiroCushion”; Jordyn Ference and Montana Stidham, “Posture Pack”; Logan Haven, “The Effects of Sucrose Consumption on Spatial Memory”; and Leeanna Ruegg, “Knocking Out Certain Arginine Kinases in Caenorhabditis Elegans”.

Ference and Stidham’s project also earned the duo the Governor’s Award for Biotechnology & Biomedical Technology Research. It is one of the Governor’s Thomas Edison Awards for Excellence in STEM Education and carried with it a $50 award from the Mohican District Science Council.

Haven’s project earned the Charles River Laboratories’ Analytical Biochemistry Award of $125, while the Josh Poorbaugh BioAchievement Award I, sponsored by Grandpa’s Cheesebarn and carrying a prize of $250, went to Ruegg. Agnes and Allshouse received an Outstanding Student Award for submitting one of the top four projects.

Northwestern Elementary School student Reed Hamey also earned a superior ranking for his “Dogs See Color?!” project, which also garnered him the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo award for the best animal science project. He received four tickets to the zoo for his efforts.


Columbia Middle School was recognized for having most superiors (6) among middle schools and junior high schools. It also had the highest percent of superiors with 80 percent. CMS students earning “superior” included Dominic Demagall, “Which Liquid Will Clean a Penny the Best?”; Alexis Miller, “The Mighty Sugar Rocket”, Caden Davison, “How Antioxidants Affect Oxidation”; Samantha Geiger, “’Eco-Friendly’ vs. ‘Non Eco-Friendly’" Greywater”; Maggie Murray, “Doggie Dominance”; and Alyse Young, “What Genre of Music Causes the Most Stress?” In addition, Davison’s project received the Josh Poorbaugh Bio Achievement Award II, sponsored by Grandpa’s Cheesebarn (with $50).

Other students earning superiors included:

Ashland Christian School
Logan Frazer, “Which Reaction Time Is Fastest:  Sight, Sound, or Touch?” Frazer also was awarded The Josh Poorbaugh Bio Achievement Award II and $50.

Ashland High School
Alaina Reed, “The Effectiveness of Natural Versus Synthetic Cleaners in Removing Shigella and Salmonella from a Surface That Has Been Exposed to Organic Poultry” (also received an Outstanding Student Award and $60 for having one of the top four projects); and Elyse Reed, “Contrasting Industrial Waste and Agricultural Runoff as Contributors to Algae Blooms in Lake Erie”.

Ashland Middle School
Mira Bechtol, “How High Can It Rise?”; and Katrin Parker, “Gene Mutations:  How We Are Affected”. Parker also received the Charles River Laboratories’ $125 Award for Medical and Health Sciences.

Central Christian (Kidron)
Kara Jones, “Do Mycorrhizae Help Your Plants Grow?” Jones also received an Ohio Soybean Bioscience Award and $100.

Ontario Middle School
 Emma Henderson, “Lead in our Environment?  That's Heavy!” She also received a Michael R. Hudson Outstanding Young Scientist Award sponsored by the Mohican District Science Council (in memory of long-time director Dr. Michael Hudson) and $50.

St. Edward School (Ashland)
 Julia Brauner, “Do Cats Bond With Their Human Owners?”; Emma Paddags, “Color and Your Memory”, and Autumn King, “How Does Speed Affect Pitch?” King also was awarded the Governor’s Award for Information Science & Technology Research.

St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception (Wooster)
Elizabeth Frantz, “Macroinvertebrate Leaf Species Preference:  A Comparative Study” (also awarded Michael R. Hudson Outstanding Young Scientist Award and a $250 Ohio Tuition Trust Authority College Advantage Scholarship); Bethany George, “Comparing Insulators to Work in an Upcycled Lunchbox”; Anthony Tarutani, “How Many Fins?”; Rosalia Bowling and Evelyn Veil, “Are 1st Graders or Kindergarteners More Likely to Manage Their Impulse Control and Follow Directions When They Think They Are Not Being Watched?” and Zach George, “What Is the Optimal Angle for a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine's Blades to Collect Skyscraper Downdraft?”

Sacred Heart of Jesus School (Wadsworth)
Sarah Burns, “Bioplastic Plano Soundboard Resonance:  Effects of Polymer to Plasticizer Ratios”. Burns’s project also earned the Dean’s Award, which is awarded by the Dean of the AU College of Arts & Sciences to the best interdisciplinary project and $100; the Governor’s Award for Advanced Materials Science Research (with $50 from the Mohican District Science Council); and an Ohio Tuition Trust Authority College Advantage Scholarship for $250. Claire McNeill, “Effects of Used vs Clean Oil in the Production of Biodiesel”. McNeill’s project also earned a Governor’s Award for Advanced or Alternative Energy Research, with $50 provided by the Mohican District Science Council, and an Ohio Soybean Bioscience Award and $100.Mallory Gerschutz, “Effects of Different Insulation Types on Heat Transfer”.

St. Ambrose Catholic School (Brunswick)
Riley Flowers, “Super Slime”.

St. Francis Xavier School (Medina)
Andrew Pryatel, “Rusting Out:  How Acids Affect the Rate of Corrosion”. Pryatel’s project also received an award from the Wooster Section of the American Chemical Society with,  a plaque and a $75 gift card, as well as the Charles River Laboratories’ Analytical Chemistry Award ($125).
Marie O'Keeffe, “Electromagnetic Fields in the Home.” Erin Gannon, “Gender and Their Conscience”. Gannon’s project was honored by Cornerstone Counseling of Ashland as the best project in the field of Behavioral Science for which she received a plaque and a gift certified to the Ashland University Bookstore.

Columbia High School: Landon Hunt, “Evaluating Hand Sanitizer:  Why the 99.99% Isn't Good Enough”; and William Hunt, “Reactive Gaming:  Do Gamers Have Faster Reactions?”. William Hunt also received an Outstanding Student Award (plaque and $60) for presenting one of the top four projects.

Lake Ridge Academy: Andrew Young, “Effects of Colored Filters on Solar Cell Efficiency”.

McCormick Junior High School: Jadyn Towns, “How Does Exercising Affect Mental Health?”

McCormick Middle School: Jacob Miller, “Improving Solar Panel Output”.

New London High School: Emily Stevens, “Can Wool Be Used to Control Sediment and Phosphorus Losses For an Ohio Soil?” She also earned an Outstanding Student Award (plaque and $60) for presenting one of the top four projects.

St. Anthony of Padua: Andreas Antoniou, “Getting Soda Cool”.

St. Peter Catholic School (North Ridgeville): Alec Brown, “Is Bacteria Present in Commercial Bottled Water?”; Matthew DiLoreto, “Timber”; and Alexandra Salerno, “No Regrets – Keep It Fresh”. Brown also won the Analytical (Other) Award from Charles River Laboratories ($125).

 Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.###