Miami, Oklahoma - Friday, March 4, 2011 - Grove High School freshman Hannah Pagels received the top award at the Regional Science and Engineering Fair hosted by Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) in late February. Pagels' project, “Contraceptive Conundrum” advanced her not only to the State competition, but also the international science fair scheduled to take place May 8 - 13 in Los Angeles, Calif.

As part of her prize from NEO, all of Pagels' expenses to the International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, Calif. will be paid.

“In selecting the top award, judges at the NEO fair examined the students' use of the scientific method, how reasonable the hypothesis was, the extensiveness of the tests and the originality of the project,” said JulieAnna Rohde, chair of the Natural Science Department.

This event offered students the opportunity to display their findings from an independent scientific investigation as Pagels did, and projects were judged based on scientific thought, thoroughness and uniqueness; Pagels' project was outstanding, Rohde added.

This regional fair hosted by NEO is a qualifying fair for State competition and one overall High School project is sent to the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).

About 35 Jr. and Sr. high students in 24 different science categories were advanced to State competition, which will be held in Ada, Okla. from March 24-26, 2011. They will have another chance to compete for slots to go to ISEF.

Pagels hypothesized in her project that populations of female to male Drosophila, (commonly known as the fruit fly), would increase in successive generations as compared to her control group. Offspring produced were affected in the majority of exposed concentrations, resulting in less male, more female offspring and a number of flies of unknown sex. The highest concentration produced less female and more male offspring; this result was contrary to other exposed groups and the control.

Keli Steen, a biology instructor at Grove High School acted as a tutor and mentored Pagels while working on her science fair project.

“Hannah's success as a freshman reassures that Grove Public Schools has a strong science program," Steen said. “The high school research group does well because of the foundation that is laid down during the middle school years where students are required to do science research for all three years.”

In eight years Steen has sent 24 students and projects to the international competition.

Pagels said she was surprised and truly honored to represent Grove at the international fair in May.