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Released March 10, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- Three high school students from the Hattiesburg area took the top three awards at the Mississippi Junior Academy Science Competition last month on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Daniel Murin of Oak Grove High School won first place for his paper titled "Antibiotic Resistant Coliform Bacteria in Feces in Free-Range and Commercially Raised Chicken." Murin conducted most of his research under the tutelage of Dr. Sabine Heinhorst, a chemistry professor at The University of Southern Mississippi.

Anthony Yuen of Oak Grove and Winston Messer of Presbyterian Christian High School tied for second place.

Yuen, son of Dr. and Mrs. Steve Yuen, won for his paper titled "The Design and Development of an Effective Electronic Polling System."

Messer, son of Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Messer Jr., won for his paper titled "A Study of the Effect of Body Habitus on Reliability of Cardiac Nuclear Imaging at Two Institutions in Vivo and in Vitro - A Second Year Study."

"Daniel came to this competition by way of his work with Dr. Heinhorst, and Winston and Anthony had been involved in the international science fair competition," said MJAS director Aimee Lee, a biology instructor at Southern Miss.

"This was basically an elaboration of that work, presented in a scholarly format, which is what science should be - the culmination of work over time," she said.

Divided into two divisions, 9-10th grade and 11-12th grade, the competition was held at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Feb. 18 and consisted of three phases: written paper competition; oral presentation; and overall competition.

Contestants first submitted scientific research papers for review. Papers were judged on criteria such as the author's description of experimental procedures.

Papers judged worthy were then presented at the oral presentation competition. Judging criteria was based on the professional aspect of the presentation, including supporting material and the poise of the presenter.

"In this portion, judges aren't looking at the written paper, only the presentation itself," MJAS president Peter Clark said. "Judges look for confidence in the presenter, the ability of the presenter to maintain audience interest, appropriate voice level, appearance, clarity of diction and enthusiasm for the topic."


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM