BPMS students medal at State Science Fair

LARAMIE – Seven Big Piney Middle School (BPMS) students traveled to the University of Wyoming (UW) for the 2023 State Science Fair on March 5-7. More than 150 students presented their research projects after qualifying at regional fairs held throughout Wyoming in February.

BPMS entered four research projects for consideration at the State Science Fair. Jocelyn Wilson conducted research in microbiology, studying the quantity of bacteria in yogurt when it exceeds its expiration date.

Chelsea Davis and Cache Hall developed testing methods to evaluate and engineer safety glasses.

Dylan Foster and Reba Penfield statistically evaluated the effects of temperature and precipitation on wolf movements in Wyoming and partnered with wolf biologists to gain access to collar data from wolves.

Jada Banks and Zavier Clifford analyzed tree samples from 20 trees in the Bridger-Teton National Forest and measured their growth over a 100-year time period using computer software data points they scanned from wood. Banks and Clifford then compared their findings to historical precipitation records.

On Sunday, March 5, after setting up their research displays, students participated in physics simulations at the Enzi STEM Facility on the UW campus and then viewed a show at the UW Planetarium.

Students were greeted on Monday by University President Dr. Edward Seidel, a physicist who studied black holes. He gave an inspiring talk about the simple to complex nature of Albert Einstein’s theories and the need to continually question one’s thinking.

BPMS students presented their research to judges during closed door sessions from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The students then presented their projects to the public during an open house from 2:30 to 5 p.m.

Judges announced awards on Tuesday, March 7.


Banks and Clifford earned first place in the plant science category for their project linking the effects of historic drought on tree-ring growth in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Banks’ and Clifford’s research garnered a 2023 Fisher Junior Innovation Challenge Award, conferred to the top five projects at the State Science Fair.

The duo also received the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association Award and the NCAR-CILS Junior Geoscience Special Award.

Foster and Penfield won a University of Wyoming Geosciences Award for their project studying the effect of seasons on wolf movement in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

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