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Feb 16
Exhibition promotes science appreciation

Imaging 2.jpgMiranda Felix, of Eustis-Farnam Public Schools, examines the mouth of Callum Ward, of Gothenburg Public Schools. It was all part of the Western Regional Science Fair at North Platte Community College on Thursday.

The world became a little bit safer Thursday morning. That's after students from six area high schools learned how to save a life at North Platte Community College.

It was all part of the Western Regional Science Fair, which the college hosts every spring to encourage high school and middle school students to develop an appreciation for science and consider it as a possible career field.

This year, "Hands-On CPR" was one of the interactive breakout sessions in the Health and Science Center. Those in the workshop learned how to respond to an emergency situation and perform hands-only CPR in rhythm to the popular Bee Gees hit, "Stayin' Alive."

Meanwhile, next door, other students were wrist-deep in the mouths of manikins. Lauri Rogers, director of the dental assisting program at NPCC, and her students demonstrated how to take and read dental X-rays and explained the importance of infection control.

On the second floor of the building, science meet participants learned how and why blood clots form by creating a comparative response with glue.


After cleaning up, the students headed down the hall to learn about the Great American Eclipse, which will take place Aug. 21. They left the building with a kit full of information about the solar event, including the best location to view the eclipse, and links to online resources. They also took home a pair of sun viewing glasses.

"I think the breakout sessions are one of the coolest things about this meet," said HaLea Messersmith, a science teacher at Cozad Community Schools. "These students want to get their hands dirty. They learn by doing, and the college gives them a way to do that."

Across campus, in the McDonald-Belton Gymnasium, rows of tables were lined up with science projects, some of which, students had spent months working on.

Through the process, the learned how to conduct and analyze research, prepare a presentation and speak in public when explaining their findings to a judge.

The projects ranged from thinking under pressure, fighting bacteria and fingerprinting to understanding illusions, determining whether white bread or wheat bread molds faster and identifying sources of glucose. There were 84 projects altogether.


Corby Condon, a student at St. Patrick Junior/Senior High School, presents his project at a science meet at North Platte Community College on Thursday. The title of his project was, "The Affects of Wind Speeds On Cooling Rate."

Winners received medals and ribbons and advanced to the 2017 Nebraska Junior Academy of Sciences State Science Fair at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln on April 20.

Additionally, eighth grade winners were invited to attend a State Science Meet at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha in June.

The winners in the middle school division were:

  • First – Kayla Schilke, Chase County Schools
  • Second – Rian Good, Gothenburg Public Schools
  • Third – Bronson Long, Gothenburg Public Schools
  • Fourth - Sean Worthman, Cozad Community Schools
  • Fifth – Elissa Foley, Gothenburg Public Schools
  • Sixth – Alyssa Kolbo, Cozad Community Schools

The winners in the high school division were:

  • First – Sam Aden, Gothenburg Public Schools
  • Second – Emma Ferguson, Chase County Schools
  • Third – Keifer Anderson, Gothenburg Public Schools
  • Fourth – Samantha Jack, Eustis-Farnam Public Schools

A new award was also given out this year. Lincoln Industries donated $125 in cash to an overall winner from Lincoln County. That winner was Landon Klasna of St. Patrick Junior/Senior High School in North Platte.

The science meet was sponsored by the Nebraska Academy of Sciences, UNMC's Area Health Education Center and the Nebraska Coalition For Lifesaving Cures.

Heather Johnson
Area Communications Specialist

Heather produces and distributes press releases for the college. She began work at MPCC in 2014. Prior to that, she spent five years as the news director/web manager for Eagle Radio in North Platte. From 2009-2014 she worked as a reporter/photographer for The North Platte Telegraph. Heather has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Chadron State College.

Brent L. Cobb
McCook Community College News Bureau Coordinator​​​