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Cheney Free Press
Cheney , Washington
June 18, 2015     Cheney Free Press
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June 18, 2015

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CHENEY FREE PRESS .... ' Thursday, June 18, 2015 .... By JOHN McCALLUM: Editor Cheney High School sophomore Laura Mertens-Plowman had a ques- tion, an ordinary question many of us often have about claims made by product manufacturers: Does that really work the way the label says it does? In Mertens-plowman's case, it was whether or not a brand of hand sanitizer really did kill 99.9 percent of bacteria after application, as the manufacturer said it did. So Mertens- Plowman, a high school science club member, set out to test that claim - and as a result ended up win- ning a Non-Scholarship Competition Superior Award blue ribbon at the second annual STEMposium confer- ence, held May 27on the Washington State University-Spokane campus. Under the watchful eyes of CHS biology, physical science instructor and club advisor George Barlow, Mertens-Plowman conducted some good old-fashioned science - ask- ing a question, formulating an idea, identifying methods and materials for testing the idea and finally do- ing the work, making changes and adaptations along the way. Mertens-Plowman tested a vari- ety of surfaces, isolating the sample area and using a cotton swab to col- lect bacteria, putting the swab in a Petri dish lined at the bottom with a bacteria growth medium called ager. She then cleaned the surface with the disinfectant, and collected another Sample, putting that swab in a similar, but separate, dish. The dishes then went into an in- Photo by John McCallum Cheney High School student Laura Mertens-Plowman's curiosity about a hand sanitizer manufacturer's claim eventually led her to an award at the second annual STEMposium science conference. cubator to stimulate bacteria colony growth. "I put them in the incubator for about a week, so they grew a lot," Mertens-Plowman said. At the end of a week, Mertens- Plowman removed the dishes and sat down to count the bacteria colonies in each and make comparisons. The surface that produced the besCresults for the disinfectant was the human thumb - appropriate for a product labeled as,a "hand sanitizer." Mertens-Plowman's research revealed the Sanitizer eliminated 91 percent of bacteria on the thumbs of four classmates, not quite the 99 percent claimed on the label but sig- nificant all the same. The surface it had the lowest effect on was the side of a garbage can at just 8 percent. "This helps you realize there's bacteria everywhere and on every- body," Barlow said. To enter the contest, Mertens- Plowman had to write an 8-9-page paper detailing her experiment, which she titled "The Effectiveness of Disinfectants on Bacteria." The sophomore said she had to incorpo- rate the results of other studies into her paper, and "try to make it all make sense." Barlow said STEMposium is actu- ally a consolidation of several small- er science competitions. According to its website, those were Spokane Youth Environmental Conference, the Inland Northwest Science Sym- posium and Project Lead the Way, with WSU-Spokane, Spokane Public Schools, Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency, Eastern Washington University and the Cheney School District among those helping orga- nize the event. "They've all worked and done a pretty good job of putting this to- gether," Barlow said. Mertens-Plowman was one of 150 students from 22 regional middle and high schools selected to partici- pate in the conference. She chose to present her research in a tri-fold, poster board format, fielding ques- tions from judges, other participants and spectators. See Research page 3 Eastern hold commenceme final Cheney nt ceremony Full house at Roos Field enjoys warm temps, blue skies, speakers' messages By PAUL DELANEY Staff Reporter The 123rd commence- ment for Eastern Wash- ington University was a memorable milestone for nearly 2,900 graduates last Saturday, June 13 at Roos Field. First, it meant those seated on the red turf, had finally accomplished what they set out to do 4- 5 years ago, and would be off to pursue their vari- ous paths in life. It also marked the final such time, for the foreseeable future at least, that EWU will hold its graduation in Cheney. Future such events will move from outside in the unpredictable ele- ments of spring to inside at air conditioned Spo- kane Veteran's Memorial Arena. Mother Nature blessed the morning with bright sunshine and tem- peratures in the low 70s, a direct opposite to the dreary and drizzly con- ditions that greeted the "Class of 2014. Roos Field was packed to overflow- ing with spillover attend- ees seated in chairs on the running track. EWU provost Dr. Rex Fuller served as the mas- ter of ceremonies for the final time at the school. He was recently named as the new president of Western Oregon Uni- versity. Eastern's new presi- dent, Dr. Mary Cullinan, spoke briefly and compli- mented the graduates on all the hard work they had completed and reminded them of the many new challenges that lie ahead. D.J. Jigre, the out- going two-term EWU student body president addressed the crowd m his usual laid-back fash- ion with a, "How you all doing?" greeting be- fore introducing student speaker Paul Reilly. Reilly, who earned his undergrad degree at Eastern in 2012 and a masters in 2015, told of his struggle to turn things around after a rough childhood. He was arrested at age 15 and had his first felony at 21. "Fear was a force in my life," Reilly said. But Reilly's message to the crowd was to face those fears head-on as he has in turning his life around. He quoted Nel- son Mandela who once said "Courage is not the absence of fear but to triumph over it." Commencement speaker Shawn Vestal, a columnist for the Spokes- man Review and a noted author, spoke of how his time at Eastern was life- changing as he pursued his masters in fine arts here in 2008. This was the first com- mencement Vestal had attended he said, noting he did not walk when he received his masters. He told the gradu- ates.that they were being equipped with one of the most important tools in life, a college degree. Vestal's message, de- livered over a public ad- dress system that EWU board of trustees chair, Jo Ann Kaufman, ear- Hallett Elementary honors May stud nt award winners Hallett Elemen- tary announced the Partners Advancing Character Education (PACE) a ard winners for May. May's PACE trait is courage. PACE -- Samuel Zapalac, Kaylynn Adair, Elizabeth Rhea, Dakota Doubek, Grace Cornwall, Trin- ity Hamilton-Becket, Tyler Tilson, Gar- rett Montney, Isa- bella Price, Autumn Haynes, Dylan Turn- bough, Addison Shaf- fer, Eliot Beal, Isiah Giles, Aaryn Taschler, Justin Cleman, Kylie Metheny and Caleb Fulleton. Bug- Alexander Young, Daphne Wal- lace, Isabella Nolan, Caitlyn Guzy, Braden Durbin, Georgia Camp- bell, Meeya Matthews, Jonathan Neumann, Nathan Ehrgott, Hunt- er Flood, Jamal Shy- vers, Lindsay Kuster, Kaeleb Tilson, Gavin Mylan, Ezra Wallace, Joseph Griffey, Levi Holmes and Alexander Scheer. Can - Aiyhan- nah Browne, Bryen Cleman, Caleb Kalen~; der, Elizabeth Cleman/ Marcus Durbin, Elisa- beth Merrick, Hector Gomez, Alex Choe, Robert Zapalac, Javon Skinner, Keenen Foutz, Mavrick Rasmussen, Abigail Brown, Noah Womble, Calvin Hen- ry, Kylie Myers, Shem- aia Pullom, Ellie Haas and Allison (last name not provided). lier apologized about because of it being hard to hear, asked graduates to keep a place for what you love and "Refuse the voices that tell you to put it away." Don't ever give up pursuits you think are im- portant, because if he had, Vestal said his dreams of becoming a father and author would never have been realized. After 20 years of re- jections of his submitted works to various pub- lishers, not long after the "Fear was a force in my life." EWU commencement speaker Paul Reilly birth of his first son, so came his first short story being published. He now has 16 and will soon see his first novel published. The universe is still a place where there is much to discover he said. He spoke of a recent ex- ploration of the Atlantic Ocean off of Puerto Rico, where entirely new spe- cies, along with human garbage, were found in ! extraordinarily deep wa- ters. Vestal closed his ad- dress with some thoughts for graduates to take away with them, besides their degrees. Included was to be wary of advice, make mis- takes without regret, help others and keep learning. Paul Delaney can be reached at pdelaney@cheneyfreepress. com, Specialty Asphalt honors Cheney High School Sophomore, Faith Pitts Academic Student of the Week SPECIALTY ASPHALT & Congratulations Medical Lake High School Sophomore, Elizabeth Outhenthapanga Academic Student of the Medica! Lake Meetings are the 3rd Thursday each month Dollars for at 6'30 nm SCHOLARS" at Medical ake A Prelim or City Hall Chambers Emaih Cheney Federal Credit Union Congratulates June Student of the Month Leah Russell 8th Grade Cheney Middle School Federal Credit Union 520 First Street, Cheney, WA 235-6533 Where others have branches--we have our roots. If you live, work, worship or go to school in Cheney or Medical Lake school districts, you are eligible to join Cheney Federal Credit Union.