FFA Members Exhibit Biotech and Agriscience at White House Science Fair

Talie Cloud, from Sanger, California and Mikayla Ockels from Sussex, Delaware, exhibited their projects at the sixth annual White House Science Fair held on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. The science fair celebrated the accomplishments of students from throughout the country in a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Talie Cloud – Momordica Charantia as an Insecticide

Photo of Talie Cloud standing on the White House lawn with her exhibit

Talie Cloud exhibited her award winning agriscience project at the 2016 White House Science Fair

Talie, 15, is a member of the Sanger FFA Chapter and won first place in her category and division at the 2015 National FFA Agriscience Fair, an annual competition sponsored by Cargill, John Deere and Syngenta during the National FFA Convention & Expo. The FFA Agriscience Fair features the research and results of FFA members who plan on pursuing careers in the science and technology of agriculture.

Her project explored the effects of Momordica charantia, or bitter melon seed, on the reproductive rate of Drosophila melanogaster after four generations of exposure. The purpose of the project was to determine whether the bitter melon seed could be used as a potential organic insecticide.

Her findings determined that with more investigation on the chemical makeup, ideal concentration mixture, environmental impact and application method, Momordica charantia would be a cost-efficient and effective agricultural insecticide that acts upon the reproduction of the pest, rather than the mortality rate.

Talie is a Career and Technical Education (CTE) student in agriculture, food and natural resources and was invited to exhibit at the White House Science Fair which was the last science fair to be held during President Barack Obama’s administration.

Mikayla Ockels – Feed to Egg Conversion Rate

Photo of Mikayla Ockels standing on the White House lawn in front of her exhibit while holding a hen.

Mikayla Ockels exhibited her award winning biotech science project at the 2016 White House Science Fair

Mikayla, from Sussex Central High School in Delaware, presented her project, “The Feed to Egg Conversion Rate of Heritage Hens.” This project studied which breed of heritage hen had the optimal feed-to-egg conversion rate in a pasture raised environment. Feed to egg conversion rate is the amount of feed it takes for a hen to lay a single egg. Mikayla studied heritage breeds, as these are the breeds that are the hardiest and can thrive in an outdoor environment. Her pasture raised egg business requires heritage breeds, as pasture raised means that the birds are let outside every day to roam freely. This project won awards at the state and regional levels, including the state BioGENEius competition. Mikayla also participated in the National FFA Agriscience fair in 2013 and 2014.

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Education Program Specialist, OCTAE