Maine BioGENEius winner shares experience at International Finals at BIO Digital

This post was written by Patrick Wahlig, a high school student from Falmouth, who won our 3rd annual BioME Student Showcase on April 28, 2021. As the winner, Patrick was able to represent Maine and at the international finals of The BioGENEius Challenge during BIO International Convention.  Patrick researches the stable isotope analysis of Maine-caught striped bass otoliths as a means of determining natal origin. Watch Patrick’s presentation at the 2021 BioME Student Showcase. Below he describes his experience.

Guest post by Patrick Wahlig

This past April, I was granted the honor of presenting at the third annual BioME Student Showcase, the local partner of the International BioGENEius Challenge, a prestigious biotech competition for high school students dedicated to their research.

After earning first place at the BioME student showcase, I participated in the International BioGENEius Challenge with several other students from across the country and world.

The experience, while virtual, simply could not have been better. It was a week filled with exciting virtual activities with some of the brightest young minds in the world, as well as the opportunity to speak with those on the cutting edge of vaccine development, like Seema Kumar, the Global Head of the Office of Innovation and Global Health and Scientific Engagement at Johnson & Johnson. In a time when the future seemed uncertain, these meetings gave me hope for what the future would bring.

While the competition itself was entertaining and useful, helping me improve my public speaking and research skills, it was the connections made (with students and judges alike) at the event that really made it unforgettable.

Perhaps the most important thing I learned from this experience was that no matter the obstacles put in front of us, humanity finds a way around them. We never stop learning, and we never stop growing.

The BioGENEius competition was amazing, and it has reinvigorated me to continue along my path of research through high school, college, and beyond.

Watch the virtual BioGENEius finals

About BioGENEius

BioME is the official local partner for the BioGENEius Challenge, a prestigious international biotech competition for grades 9-12. The high school winner of BioME Student Showcase automatically qualifies to compete against international students in the BioGENEius Challenge finals during the BIO International Convention. The Maine BioGENEius Challenge is open to any student in grade 9-12 attending public, private or home school in Maine.

2021 Maine BioGENEius finalists

1st Place Award   Patrick Wahlig, Falmouth High School
Stable Isotope Analysis of Maine-Caught Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) Otoliths as a Means of Determining Natal Origin

2nd Place Award – Meaghan Caron, Bangor High School
Fallopia Japonica as an Alternative Fuel Source to Remediate the Spread of Invasive Species

3rd Place Award – Ogechi Obi, Bangor High School
Treating Cellulose-Nanofiber with Calcium Alginate for Plasticization