James Rose of Alpena, center, and his parents visited the St. Louis Arch when James competed in June in the Stockholm Junior Water Prize national competition.
Center Feeds Interest of Father, Son in Science
Two years after he changed careers and became a science teacher, Roger Rose of Alpena took a workshop at the University of Arkansas Center for Math and Science Education. His son, James, also took interest in what Roger was learning.
Five years later, James Rose, 15, won the Stockholm Junior Water Prize for Arkansas with his science fair project, earning him a trip to St. Louis this summer to compete nationally.
According to the Water Environment Federation, which organizes competitions in the United States, the Stockholm Junior Water Prize is the world's most prestigious youth award for a water-related science project. The prize taps into the unlimited potential of today's high school students as they seek to address current and future water challenges, according to the federation.
"Attending the competition was a life-changing experience and has opened my eyes to the possibilities and opportunities available to me in the future," James said.
His project examined the leaching of lead from discarded computer monitors.
James, who started the 11th grade at Alpena High School this month, likely gets his interest and aptitude for science from his father, who teaches science at Alpena. Roger formerly worked in the water well industry as a certified pump installer. His two older daughters' involvement in science fairs helped Roger realize he wanted to pursue a career as a science teacher.
He had been appointed to the Alpena district's school board and, after participating in training with the Arkansas Leadership Academy, decided he wanted to do more in education. The leadership academy and the Center for Math and Science Education are both outreach programs of the College of Education and Health Professions.
"My second year of teaching, I took an electronic waste workshop at CMASE," said Roger, who has been to numerous workshops put on by the center. "James was interested in it, too, and we thought he could do a science fair project on the topic when he got into ninth grade."
"He brought a notebook home with all the information in it," James recalled.
Alpena boasts strong participation in the Northwest Arkansas Regional Science and Engineering Fair that Lynne Hehr, director of CMASE, coordinates each March on the University of Arkansas campus. Roger Rose said competing benefits the students in several ways.
"I saw it in my daughters," he said. "They learned to present themselves, their information and their opinions in a meaningful way. They can write papers well and present PowerPoints. It has helped them a lot with college and scholarship applications.
"When students prepare for a science fair, they use math and language skills, too," Roger continued. "The experience of getting up in front of people is very valuable."
James started working on his science fair project months in advance. He collected old cathode ray tube computer monitors his school was replacing and built model landfills in his back yard. He put the electronic waste into the simulated landfills to measure the lead that leached out.
James Rose with one of his
awards at the Northwest
Arkansas Regional Science
and Engineering Fair in
March."I looked at the leaching of lead and its effect on the levels of toxic waste in the environment and in living organisms," James said. "I wanted to see how obsolete computer monitors and other electronic waste such as cell phones contributed to the levels. I found large amounts of toxic elements in the ground water."
His fifth year to enter the Northwest Arkansas Regional Science and Engineering Fair sponsored by the University of Arkansas, James was named the top individual winner with his project, and his school was the overall winner.
After high school, James plans to major in agricultural education and minor in environmental science at the university."This year changed my life," he said.