UF/IFAS student to participate in White House science panel on April 13

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida/IFAS student will serve on a panel at the White House Science Fair on April 13. The science fair is the last of President Obama’s administration.

Kiona Elliott is a third-year student majoring in horticultural sciences, and has been asked to reflect on her past experience in the White House Science Fair, discuss the importance of STEM training and talk about her current research activities. She currently attends UF as a McNair Scholar, named for astronaut Ronald McNair who perished in the Challenger Disaster in 1986.

“I am honored to represent UF/IFAS during the White House Science Fair,” Elliott said. “The university has nurtured my passion for the sciences, and the faculty have been supportive as I pursue my educational goals.”

Elliott performs research with Dr. Kevin Folta’s group in the horticultural sciences department, in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, examining uses for a potentially new class of plant growth regulators that could improve sustainable farming.  She has presented her work at national meetings, and plans to enroll in a leading graduate program with a focus on using technology to ensure food security for developing nations.

“We are proud and excited that Kiona will represent UF/IFAS at such a prestigious event as the White House Science Fair,” Folta said. “She is an outstanding student who will help make the world a better place through her education and research.”

Elliott participated in the White House Science Fair in 2013 as a high school student. Her team designed a collapsible, transportable, bicycle-powered emergency water-sanitation station that filters E. coli and other harmful pathogens from contaminated water. In emergencies, the device can be assembled and disassembled in under an hour, and can produce enough water to hydrate 20 to 30 people during a 15-hour period.

Elliott and her Northeast High School classmates received a 2012 InvenTeam grant from the Lemelson-MIT Program, which supported their development of the innovative design.

For more information, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/science-fair.

 

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By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, beverlymjames@ufl.edu

Source: Kevin Folta, 352-273-4812, kfolta@ufl.edu