News

Van Buren sophomore honored for corn research

PHOTO SUBMITTED

Van Buren High School sophomore Kayla Livesay, right, poses with her science teacher, Amanda Schiller. Livesay will present her science project, on the effects of fertilizer and fungi on corn, at a national symposium. Students can earn scholarships and cash awards at this event.
PHOTO SUBMITTED Van Buren High School sophomore Kayla Livesay, right, poses with her science teacher, Amanda Schiller. Livesay will present her science project, on the effects of fertilizer and fungi on corn, at a national symposium. Students can earn scholarships and cash awards at this event.

KEOSAUQUA - Van Buren sophomore Kayla Livesay was a finalist at the regional Belin-Blank junior science and humanities symposia program and will travel to the 57th National Symposium April 24-27 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The National Symposium brings together 230 high school students who qualify by submitting and presenting original scientific research papers in regional symposia held at universities nationwide. Approximately 130 high school teachers, mentors, university faculty, ranking military guests and others also attend and join in encouraging the future generation of scientists and engineers and celebrating student achievement in the sciences.

Kayla was selected to attend the Iowa regional symposium, which was held March 4-5 in Coralville. Earlier this school year, she submitted her original research for consideration and she was one of the 15 selected to present at last week’s symposium.

The top five finalists were invited to attend the national symposium in April.

Kayla, who is interested in an agricultural business career, did her research on comparing different applications of fertilizer and fungus on corn.

Her project was entitled “Accelerating Plant Growth and Soil Fertility to Improve Crop Production with Mycorrhizal Fungi and Macronutrients.” She discovered that foliar spray combined with mycorrhizal fungi were best for crop growth and soil fertility.

Last week was her second time presenting at the regional symposium.

“The experience I had last year, gave me a more realistic experience of what I would face this year. I was more at ease this time, but definitely still nervous,” Kayla said.

She added that being chosen for nationals is a “great honor.”

Kayla has nothing but praise for her teacher and mentor, Amanda Schiller.

“Mrs. Schiller gives it her all for us,” Kayla says.

“She’s available all year, you can text her in the summer with a question and she will help you. She cares about the students.”

Schiller and Kayla’s parents will travel with Kayla to New Mexico for the national symposium.

Livesay was one of four grand champions from Van Buren at last week’s science fair competition at Southeastern Community College.

She likes the focus of her research project and future plans are to keep expanding on this line of research.

Kayla is involved in the Science Club Quiz Bowl, play, band, Rhythm Squad and Leo Club.

The Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS) Program promotes and publicly recognizes students for outstanding achievement in original research and experimentation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at the high school level. By connecting talented students, their teachers, and research professionals, JSHS aims to widen the pool of students prepared to conduct research vital to our nation.

“I really like doing science projects. You meet new people and it’s very rewarding to present your research,” Kayla said.