Monday, May 29, 2017

Biotech Biology Students Win Big at Imagine Tomorrow!



This last weekend, eight teams from the Biotechnology Academy attended the Imagine Tomorrow problem solving competition in Pullman, Washington at the WSU campus.  Ballard dominated the competition with multiple awards.  It was a dizzy night of parading up to the podium to receive awards. Here is how our Beaverific students performed:


  •     Sam Gunsolus, Maddie Joseph, Jackson Lancaster, Ainsley Perkins, and Yeana Song received honorable mention in biofuels design with their project That’s A Watt of Compost.

  •     Jack Berard, Olivia Bernard,  Abigail Frankel, and Caleb Watson received honorable mention in biofuels technology with their project Light From Life
  •        Harrison Kaufman, Daniel Rowell, Jonas Sorensen, and John Wielbruda received first place in aerospace technology and the Overall innovation award with their project Graphene: The Future is Now. Those are two separate awards!

  •     Kylie Baker, Jessica Coacher, and Madeline Foti received honorable mention in aerospace design with their project Always in Stalk.
  •        Paris Hodgson, Rachel Howell, Emily Kessler, Rose Stacey, and Amy Zinsmeyer received second place in food, energy, and water technology with their project Droplets

  •   Josh Barton, Zev Carlyle, Kincaid Feldman, Finnesey Sabol, and Rhys Williams won second place in built environment behavior with their project Road to the Future.


This was a tremendous showing for Ballard and we are proud of all the participants who attended Imagine Tomorrow this year!
Group shot of eight teams at WSU

Always in Stalk!  Using corn stalks as packing material.

Light from Life.  A natural light source from dinoflagellates.

Road to the Future! Or is it another new boy band?

Droplets!  How to monitor your own water consumption.

Graphene. Nanotechnology.

Victorious!  Road to the Future!

Showing the goods.

That's a Watt of Compost!

Looking good waiting for the judges.

Poised and purposeful.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Student BioExpo 2017!

Biotechnology Genetics Presented Their Capstone Projects at Shoreline Community College.


On Friday, May 19,  Biotechnology  Genetics students presented their capstone projects at the 17th annual Student BioExpo at Shoreline Community College.  They did an excellent job presenting their work and received several accolades from the judges. The BioExpo is a science fair where students can enter in several different categories ranging from Drama/Dance and Lab Research to Creative Writing and Molecular Modeling.  All projects are judged for their scientific content and for creativity in each category.  Twenty schools from the state of Washington participated. 
All of the students represented Ballard with poise and grace.  Our students exceled in several categories.   The following students received special recognition.
Creative Writing: Honorable Mention- Sophie Zucker for “To Bleed or Not to Bleed”
Journalistic Writing: Honorable Mention-Tavish Hansen for “Tourette Syndrome: Living the Life Chosen by Your Genes.   2nd Place-Sophie Adams for “Keeping the Body Intact: Marfan Syndrome”
Multi-Media:  Honorable Mention-Hannah McNamara, Kale Zweig, and Kailana Wang for “The Story of Breast Cancer”
Music:  3rd Place-Mercedes George for SCA 2-(Spinocerebellar ataxia 2); 2nd Place-Veronica Redpath and Noah Parker for “Amalgamation of Mutations”
Teaching: 1st Place-Paige Campbell for “Teaching Alzheimer’s Disease”
SeaVuria:  A unique category where students are matched with students in Kenya in order to educate about a global health issue.  3rd Place-Sammy Blue, Liat Carlyle, Julia Jackson, and Audrey McFarland for “HIV: A Global Fight”; 2nd Place-Caitlin Moore and Lia Freeman for “ Tuberculosis: The Invisible Killer”; 1st Place-Sam Wilk, Sophia Alvord, and Lauren Farrar for “Malaria: The Bite That Does More Than Itch”

Arriving at Shoreline Community College.

Honorable Mention! SeaVuria. Go Seniors!

Power Posing for the Judges.  It's all about Presentation.

First Place!  Teaching Category!

Second Place. Music!  And they Performed Live! See linked Video.

First Place. SeaVuria!  The Global Future.

Chillin' in Between Judging Sessions.

Seniors Hunting for a Cure for Huntington's.

Second Place Journalistic Writing! Marfan's Syndrome.

Second Place. SeaVuria. Tuberculosis.

Class of 2018 posing.  You go girls!

Back Home at BHS. Don't they Look Lovely! It was a Great Day!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Whidbey Island Field Trip in the Spring!

Students from the Biotech Academy participated in a second field trip this school year to the Whidbey Island Tree Farm to continue their ecological studies.  This trip was special because the local ecology experiences seasonal changes. Skunk cabbage was in full bloom! Horsetails and stinging nettles invaded all of the sample sites.  Salmon berry plants were in bloom and fern sporophytes were unfurling.  The warm weather allowed for swimming and pirating on the pond.  And a fortuitous low tide of -2.5' allowed us to explore local Hidden Beach.  It was a great trip and the students and staff enjoyed their connectivity to the natural world.
Beautiful 1st day, looking north.

Making connections-playing screaming toes.

Making connections-team building.

Using trigonometry to learn about carbon sequestration.


Collecting bugs.

Tree huggers measureing the DBH.

Bug trap collection!

Now the hard part!  Data analysis.

Species identification.

Measuring trees.

Champion plankton net tow!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Know Thyself. Genetics Students Performing Genetic Testing on Themselves.

In the second semester of genetics, students have performed several experiments analyzing their own DNA.  In one test, students looked at a variation in a non-coding part of a gene and in another experiment, they looked at a variation in a coding part of a gene.  Students first extracted their own DNA and then they performed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in order to amplify specific DNA sequences.

Using a saline mouth wash to get those epithelial cells. 

Mouthwashing for science!

Chillin' cells for the DNA extraction.

Loading samples!

Happy pipetting and sample prepping.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Genetics students are learning microbiobial techniques in biotechnology.

Over the past several weeks, genetics students have been learning about microbial biology and applications of biotechnology.  Students have transformed bacteria and they have recombined DNA plasmids and tested those constructs in bacteria. 
Carefully determining volumes.


Flaming the spreader to sterilize it.

Keeping a close eye whilst keeping things sterile.


Finding joy in plating!

Senior moment! Striking a pose before loading gels.

CSI Ballard!

Biology students recently solved a murder case using DNA technology.  Students had been learning lab skills such as gel electrophoresis to run DNA samples on gels.  The Brooks Case was solved!
Loading samples in the gel.

It takes teamwork to solve a crime!

Happy forensic scientists!

Collecting data from the stained gels.

One of the stained gels with DNA

Friday, March 17, 2017

Imagining Tomorrow-Biology Biotechnology Students are Prepping for the WSU Competition

The biology students are preparing for the competition at WSU on May 19-21, 2017.  We hosted a pre-pre-judging practice session so that students could float their ideas to judges.  The next judging event will determine which eight teams move forward to the event at WSU. Here are some examples of the teams' ideas.
How to store energy for later use?

Can we convert kinetic energy into storable energy to charge our devices?

Sunflower seed husks into paper? Waste not, want not.

Graphene- the new black.

One drop at a time. How can we conserve water?