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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


April 3, 2004 - Issue 110


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Two Students Head for National Science Fair


atomALBUQUERQUE — Two Fort Wingate High School students will head to Oregon in May to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Junior Rachelle Bill and her classmate Nathanael Willie were among the winners here this weekend at the 17th Annual National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair.

The fair’s projects, which were reviewed by American Indian judges, blended modern science with traditional Indian customs.

More than 350 students from across the country in grades 5-12 participated.

Bill and Willie were among the seven high-school students, including two alternates, chosen to compete in the international event in Portland, Ore., May 9-15.

Bill’s project, called “Nature’s Pharmacy,” was sparked by curiosity into an herbal remedy a Navajo medicine man gave her grandmother for a skin infection.

“The project put pharmaceutical products up against herbal remedies,” Bill said. “I wanted to find out what inhibits the growth of bacteria more effectively.”

She found tea tree oil is the most effective remedy against E. coli and Staphylococcus.

Willie won for his environmentally friendly experiment exploring the possible role of bacteria in oil spill cleanups.

“I wanted to know how E. coli and other bacteria would break down the structure and composition of oil,” he said.

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