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Twenty-nine Sheldon High School students in the Elk Grove Unified School District competed and won awards in the 2020 Teen Biotech Challenge. In the first, second and third place award categories, five Sheldon students proudly placed in each rank. Another 14 received honorable mention. The elated BioTech Academy students labored diligently to earn the recognition they received in the competition and completed a series of complex tasks and projects with the final results showing in the form of a webpage.

Teen Biotech is a competition held by the University of California, Davis each year for high school students to further develop their skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) areas including Agricultural Biotechnology & Food Science; Computational Biology & Genomics; Drug Discovery & Biomanufacturing; Environmental Biotechnology & Planetary Health; Molecular Tools – Nanobiotechnology, Synthetic Biology & Genetic Engineering; and Regenerative Medicine & Biomedical Engineering.

Students who participate in the competition explore one of these subjects in-depth and complete extensive research on the subject. Students then plan, design and produce a webpage with their findings to be submitted for review by the Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology graduate program participants.

The students curated excellent research and websites on multiple topics and represented the Elk Grove Unified School District with an amazing showing. Staff and teachers from Sheldon High School also helped contribute to the success of the students through guidance and mentorship. These staff members include Kelli Kosney, Justin Cecil, Laura Ziegenhirt, Bob Fendall, Arlene Laurison and Rick Uyeyama. 

In recent years, award winners have received cash prizes ranging from $60 to $100, with the grand prize winner receiving an honorary award. Participants who reach the judging round of the competition are also eligible to apply for the SPARK Research Scholar Awards internship. Up to 10 applicants are chosen to participate in the eight-week stem cell biology summer research experience offered by the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures (PI Gerhard Bauer) and funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). The internship serves as an excellent opportunity for students to get hands-on experience and learn in an innovative environment.

To learn more about programs and opportunities in the Elk Grove Unified School District like the Biotech Academy, visit the district website!

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