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Twenty-Four Students Earn Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Environmental Protection Research

Students from Archbold, William Mason, The Plains (Athens), Dayton Regional Stem,
Birchwood/Hawken (Cleveland), and Ridgewood (Springfield) schools multi-year winners


Ohio EPA congratulates the winners of the 2022 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Environmental Protection Research. Twenty-four seventh thru 12th grade students were selected as part of State Science Day. Judging was conducted virtually over several days in May.

“It’s great to see these high-achieving students bring their interest in science and the environment to the forefront of their academic studies,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “Encouraging young people to engage in environmental and scientific research is vital to our continued priority of protecting Ohio’s natural resources.”

Senior Carsyn Hagans, Archbold High School in Archbold, is a three-time winner of the Governor’s Award; juniors Johan Demessie, William Mason High School in Mason, and Luca Gagliano, Athens High School in The Plains; sophomores Luke Doseck and Joseph Wright, both from the Dayton Regional STEM School in Dayton; and eighth graders Michael Zhu, Birchwood School of Hawken in Cleveland, and Mary Cunningham, Ridgewood School in Springfield, are two-time winners of the Governor’s Award.

State Science Day is organized and sponsored by the Ohio Academy of Science and is the equivalent of a state championship for science projects. The primary objective of State Science Day is to provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate their abilities and interests in science through individual experimentation and research.

This year’s Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Environmental Protection Research recipients are:

7th Grade

  • First Place: Meghan Worpenberg, St. Columban, Loveland, Where Should I Swim? The Great Miami River or Little Miami River
  • Second Place: Emily Parsons, Athens Middle School, Athens, It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane… It’s Superworm! Solving Our Microplastic Problem
  • Third Place: Olivia Birkle, Mother Teresa Catholic, Liberty Township, What type of Whitening Process Works the Best?

            8th Grade

  • First Place: Michael Zhu, Birchwood School of Hawken, Cleveland, Biodegradable Plastics: An experiment conducted on diverse types of biodegradable plastics to test which type can degrade the quickest and withstand the most tension
  • Second Place: Mary Cunningham, Ridgewood School, Springfield, Soil Remediation with Phytoremediation
  • Third Place: Winifred Bodin, Benjamin Logan Middle School, Bellefontaine, The Biological and Chemical Assessment of the Mad River Over Four Years
  • Honorable Mention: Quinton Smith, Ottawa Hills High School, Toledo, The Effects of Fertilizer on Algal and Plant Growth

            9th Grade:

  • First Place: Michael Ge, Ursuline, Youngstown, Taming Cyanobacteria Blooms by Using Bean Plants
  • Second Place: William Allen, Buckeye Valley Local High School, Delaware, Interactions of Various Algae Species and Phosphate
  • Third Place: Sophia Tsitouris, Bloom-Carroll High School, Carroll, The Effects Pollution has on the Transpiration of Plants
  • Honorable Mention: Lyza Forson, Urbana High School, Urbana, The Destructive Powers of Acid Rain

            10th Grade:

  • First Place: Luke Doseck and Joseph Wright, Dayton Regional STEM School, Kettering, Revising a Domestic Hydroelectric System
  • Second Place: Matthew Devine, The University School, Chagrin Falls, Ultraviolet: A Clean Way to Clean Up Invasive Species; Using Ultraviolet Light to Degrade Adhesives Similar to Byssal Thread Adhesives
  • Third Place: Ella Richer, Pettisville High School, Pettisville, The Effect of Growing Cereal Rye with Annual Ryegrass as a Cover Crop
  • Honorable Mention: Cecilija Rowane, Beaumont School, Cleveland Heights, Comparing the Flammability of Kombucha Paper Textile

            11th Grade:

  • First Place: Luca Gagliano, Athens High School, The Plains, Growing Sustainable Packaging with Mycelium and Agricultural Waste
  • Second Place: Johan Demessie, William Mason High School, Mason, Removal of Arsenic (III) and Chromium (IV) from Contaminated Water Using Novel Chitosan Coated Polyamide Adsorbent with EDTA Regeneration
  • Third Place: Nathan Snizik, Carroll High School, Dayton, Evaluating the Effectiveness of Citrus x Sinensis Peel-Derived Biopolymer Composite Films as Preservation Agents
  • Honorable Mention: James Bell, Hilltop High School, West Unity, Analyzing  Degradation Trends in Compostables through Various Compost Techniques

12th Grade:

  • First Place: Carsyn Hagans, Archbold High School, Archbold, The Effect of Light Pollution on Anabaena and Microcystis Growth
  • Second Place: Shayna Allshouse and Sarah Miller, Northwestern High School, West Salem, Proof of Principle: Using Dinoflagellates as a Sustainable Light Source
  • Honorable Mention: Nykaih Gay, Dunbar High School, Dayton, Potential Ecological Benefit of Amur Honeysuckle

Each year, approximately 10,000 students from across Ohio participate in local science fairs and are judged on knowledge achieved, effective use of scientific method, clarity of expression, originality, and creativity. Students who achieve superior ratings are invited to participate in district science fairs. More than 1,200 students from grades 5-12 participate in State Science Day and may be eligible for nearly 100 scholarships and awards valued at more than $4 million.

Ohio EPA employees were among the judges for the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Environmental Protection Research. Each recipient will receive a $100 prize and a certificate signed by Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson.


The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.