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More than 400 compete at regional science fair
"Sweet Treat or Dangerous Drug?"
If that provocative question sounds like a "Dateline NBC" report, it's not. It's the title of Emma Lundy's behavioral sciences project, entered in Tuesday's 55th annual Southeast Missouri Regional Science Fair.
Nearly 450 young scientists from 29 junior high and high schools throughout Southeast Missouri packed the Show Me Center to compete for the ultimate prize: An invitation and all-expenses paid trip to the 62nd International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles in May.
Lundy, an eighth-grader from Perry County Middle School, didn't win the big prize, but her experiment certainly caught some eyes. The project attempted to find out whether 3- 4- and 5-year-olds could tell the difference between candy or medicine in plastic bags. The young control group, Lundy said, was never in any danger of taking medication, but the experiment was designed to examine accidental overdoses in children. Lundy said the science was experiential.
"The person I was doing the experiment with, her little brother would always get into, like, medicine," she said. "We thought we should do something with it."
Lundy was among a multitude of preteen and teenage girls competing in the fair, particularly in the behavioral science category, said Marilyn Peters, fair judge and retired teacher at St. Vincent de Paul in Cape Girardeau.
"I have been doing this a little over 20 years, and back in the early days it was much more males, especially at the high school level," she said. "Now there's a real equality in it. I think girls are seeing they can do anything they want to do."
The two top senior division exhibit winners this year are Elizabeth Koehler of Saxony Lutheran High School and Victoria Willcut, of Puxico, Mo. The students will take part in the international fair in Los Angeles May 8 through 13. Alex Lappe, of St. Vincent Junior High in Perryville, Mo., is the top eighth-grade student, and will attend the fair as an observer and as part of the official party from the Southeast Missouri Regional Science Fair.
1333 N. Sprigg St., Cape Girardeau, MO