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Feb. 29, 2012

CONTACT: K.E. Schwab



Science event earns two students

4-year, $12,000 SRU scholarships             


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Cassie Graham, a senior at Sharpsville [Pa.] Area High School, and Zoe Reitz, a junior at Freeport Senior High School in Sarver, have won $12,000 Slippery Rock University scholarships for their top-rated science project at the Region IX Meeting of the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science. SRU hosted the event.

           Nearly 500 would-be scientists from regional junior and senior high schools visited campus Feb. 25 to compete for scholarships and cash awards through their science projects. SRU has hosted the event for 15 years.

           “The turnout, and the quality of projects, was again tremendous. As always, it was very difficult to determine the top senior and the top junior project, but our judges gave serious attention to detail and information offered by these young scientists before reaching their conclusion,” said William Sigmund, SRU biology professor and event coordinator. “It is always great to hear about the variety of science projects students bring to the competition.”

Graham and Reitz will each receive $3,000 per year in scholarship aid over four years if they elect to enroll at SRU.

Graham’s project, entered in the biology category, was titled “The Effect of Water Quality on Macroinvertebrates.Jack Ference was her sponsor.

Reitz’s project, entered in the ecology category, was titled “Which Fungi Best Biodegrades Oil?” and won the $100 Junior High Biology Award. Donald Orlowski, her sponsor, received the $200 Junior High Biology Mentor Award, provided by SRU’s biology department, to be used for science supplies at Freeport High.

            Participants receiving $100 awards from various SRU academic departments were:

Anna Majewski, a sophomore at Quigley Catholic High School, received the $100 Junior High Biology Award. Majewski’s sponsor Janet Bonislawsky won the SRU biology department’s $200 Junior High Biology Mentor Award for high school science supplies.

Kyle Veloski, a senior at Riverside High School sponsored by Raylene Boots, received the $100 Senior High Mathematics Award, and Donald Thompson, an eighth-grader at Butler Junior High School, sponsored by Veronica Sankey, was the $100 Junior High Mathematics Award winner. The SRU mathematics department provided both awards.

Elizabeth Haughey, a sophomore at Butler Intermediate High School, sponsored by Brielle Kelly, received the $100 Senior High Chemistry Award, and Julie Kasunic, an eighth-grader at Butler Catholic School, sponsored by Jayne Chobot, received the $100 Junior High Chemistry Award. The SRU chemistry department provided the awards.

            Judges spent eight-to-10 minutes with each student hearing about the project and asking questions. Participants earning “First Place” honors are eligible to compete at the state level in May.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.