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Top project at SW Regional Science Fair looks at bacterial growth on musical instruments

February 26, 2016

Jakobi Hibbert won a
Jakobi Hibbert won a 1st Place ribbon, a trophy for the overall best project, and a scholarship to Western.

All band students know to clean their instruments and mouthpieces. But how effective is that alcohol at eliminating bacteria? Not as much as you’d think, according to Big Piney seventh-grader Jakobi Hibbert, whose science project, “One Instrument to Another,” took the top prize at the Southwest Regional Science Fair at Western Wyoming Community College on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Jakobi, who also took first place in the Microbiology Junior Division, analyzed the bacterial contamination on musical instruments after they have been cleaned with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. Overall, bacteria levels did decrease on the instruments after the cleaning, but some instruments actually showed an increase despite the sanitizing activity, she said.

“One reason may be that the person did not clean their hands as well or washed out their mouth as well before (playing the instrument),” Jakobi explained.

Jakobi, whose mother, Kristi Hibbert, teaches her daughter’s science class at Big Piney Middle School, received a guaranteed two-year scholarship to Western in addition to her first-place medal and trophy. She said that participation in the Science Fair was not required but was something that she very much wanted to do.

“I actually wanted to do one in sixth grade, but I didn’t have enough time, so I wanted to do one this year,” she explained.  

Jakobi’s project was one of many innovative investigations into the sciences that were on display in Rushmore Gymnasium on Tuesday. This year’s Southwest Regional Science Fair was sponsored by Tata Chemicals. Tyler Keck, supervisor of environmental engineering for Tata, told the students assembled in the gymnasium that they are an important part of America’s future in science, industry and technology.  

“I just want to thank all of the students for being here today. The importance of science, technology, engineering, and math cannot be underestimated,” Keck said. “This is the future of our country right here, these bright, young individuals. Please continue your Science Fair projects. They are wonderful.”  

Before the awards ceremony, Keck presented WWCC Community Relations Director David Tate with a sponsorship check for $2,325. Those funds helped to cover the registration costs for the participating schools and students.    

“We were looking to give back to the community, and this aligns with our STEM initiative,” Keck said. “We know that there is going to be a huge shortage of people who are going into industry who are trained in STEM. Right now, we’re estimating about a million-person shortage over the next decade. Having skilled engineers is critical to our operation. We want to get students involved at a very young age and get them interested in science, and do whatever we can to support that.”

Participating schools in this year’s Southwest Regional Science Fair included: Big Piney Middle School; H.E.M Junior/Senior High School; Little Snake River Valley Middle/High School; Pinedale Middle School; Saratoga Middle/High School;   

Lincoln Middle School; Encampment K-12; Black Butte High School; and Eastside Elementary.

Winning students, by division and category, included:

Junior Division

Animal Science: 3rd Place – Carson Gregory, Pinedale MS, for “Chillin’ Crickets.”; 2nd Place – Hadley Sims, Big Piney MS, for “Crossed Over”; 1st Place – Kodie Hammer and Jaynee Hunt, Big Piney MS, for “Gittee Up.”

Behavioral & Social Science: 3rd Place – Reese Noble, Pinedale MS, for “Paper Pummels Computer”; 2nd Place – Cassidy Bateman, Big Piney MS, for “Eat It Up”; 1st Place – Kaylyn Hunter, Saratoga MS/HS, for “The Effect Of Learning Process On Memory.”

Biochemistry/Cellular & Molecular Biology/Bioinformatics & Computational Biology: 2nd Place – Damion Williams, of Pinedale MS, for “Death By Sunscreen”; 1st Place – Delaney Qualls, of Pinedale MS, for “Dr. Pepper’s Prescription.”

Biomedical & Health: 3rd Place – Sofia Smith-Cuprill, Pinedale MS. For “Breathe Deep”; 2nd Place – Jaz Davis, Pinedale MS, for “Get A Grip”; 1st Place – Taylor Bennett, of Saratoga MS/HS, for “The Effects of Acne Medicine on E.Coli.”

Chemistry: 3rd Place – Troy Later, Pinedale MS, for “Elemental Melt”; 2nd Place – Sydnee Ivie and Bryce VanEtten, Pinedale MS, for “Hairy Situation”; 1st Place – Kelton Koehn, Encampment K-12, for “Up In Flames.”

Earth & Environmental Science: 3rd Place – Kolten Hansen and Thomas Harnack, Pinedale MS, for “Salty Effects”; 2nd Place – Caleb Helm and Jacob Moller, Pinedale MS, for “Broken Bones”; 1st Place – Grace Davis, Pinedale MS, for “Field the Burn.”

Energy & Transportation: 2nd Place – Campbell Grabow, Saratoga MS/HS, for “Effect of Conductor Lengths on the Intensity of a Lightbulb”; 1st Place – Ethan Adkins, Pinedale MS, for “Fire and Ice.”

Engineering Design & Innovation: 3rd Place – Joseph Hajba, Big Piney Middle School, for “Hot Chicks! The Effect Of Solar Energy On Keeping A Chicken Coop Warm”; 2nd Place – Jack Rellstab and Clayton Roadifer, Pinedale MS, for “Perfect Projectiles”; 1st Place – Haley Rutsch, Pinedale MS, for “Ice Cold.”

Environmental Management: 3rd Place – Tasia Daley, Saratoga MS/HS, for “Comparing the Quality of Different Water Sources”; 2nd Place – Nora Legerski and Maggie Majhanovich, Pinedale MS, for “Sage-Grouse Success”; 1st Place – Zoe Griffin, Pinedale MS, for “Preening Cleaning.”  

Materials & Consumer Sciences: 2nd Place – Joshua Wiscavage, Big Piney MS, for “Defend Yourself: The Analysis of Classroom Materials to Stop a 9mm Bullet”; 1st Place – Megan Anspach, Pinedale MS, for “Cooler Cover.”

Microbiology: 3rd Place – Wyatt Marquardt, Big Piney MS, for “Oily Bacteria”; 2nd Place – Gavin Hornberger, Pinedale MS, for “Do ‘Terraizing’ Bacteria”; 1st Place – Jakobi Hibbert, Big Piney MS, for “One Instrument to Another.”

Physics & Astronomy: 2nd Place – Sydney Jensen, Pinedale MS, “Heady to Mercury.”

Plant Sciences: 3rd Place – Madison Campbell, H.E.M. MS/HS, “In Tune With Tomatoes”; 2nd Place – Isabel Mitchelson, Pinedale MS, for “Mycorrhizal Saves The Day”; 1st Place – Lainee Anderson & Anna Harber, Pinedale MS, for “Rainy Day Hay.”

Robotics/Computer/Mathematical Sciences: 3rd Place – Cooper Watson, Pinedale MS, for “As The Bull Turns”; 2nd Place – Adalyn Bennett, Big Piney MS, for “Bridge Builder – The Effect of Different Polygons and Angles on the Weight-Bearing Capacity of Bridges”; 1st Place – Mitchell Pape, Pinedale MS, for “Folding Under Pressure.”

Senior Division

Biomedical & Health: 1st Place – Keisha Arnell, Little Snake River Valley MS/HS, for “What Ya Got Cookin?”

Earth & Environmental Science: 2nd Place – Paola Ortega, Little Snake River Valley MS/HS, for “Just Go With The Flow”; 1st Place – Tyler Englehart, Little Snake River Valley MS/HS, for “Got Produced Water.”

Energy & Transportation: 1st Place – Kameron Evans, Little Snake River Valley MS/HS, for “Rig Pigs.”  

Engineering Design & Innovation: 2nd Place – Hope Prestrud, Little Snake River Valley MS/HS, for “Tough As A Brick”; 1st Place – Monty Boeckmann, Little Snake River Valley MS/HS, for “Dust Be Gone!”

Plant Sciences: 3rd Place – Skylar Holmquist, Little Snake River Valley MS/HS, for “Growin’ Up Or Growin’ Old”; 2nd Place – Taylee Widdison, H.E.M. MS/HS, for “Water You Using.”

Robotics/Computer/Mathematical Sciences: 1st Place – Jessie Klein, Little Snake River Valley MS/HS, for “Lighting the Big Apple.”


For more information, contact Audrey Harton at (307) 382-1661 or
(307) 382-1600 or toll free (800) 226-1181