Montana State University

Montana 4-H teens participate in MSU bioscience project

February 26, 2014 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN— Teen-aged 4-H members from throughout Montana are swabbing volleyballs for bacteria, tracking their dietary intake of Omega-3s versus Omega-6s, and evaluating the healthiness of pet food, all part of a year-long university experience called Bioscience Montana.

The project connects teens to scientific research, bioscience-related careers, and distance learning technologies. It is funded by the National Institutes of Health as a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) given to Montana State University.

The teens are from the counties of Cascade, Lake, Flathead, Lewis and Clark, Gallatin, Yellowstone, Custer and Powder River.

The goal of Bioscience Montana is to combine hands-on science with distance learning in order to help the teens experience basic research, which creates new knowledge, as well as applied and translational research, which use knowledge to solve problems and improve quality of life.

In August 2013, 4-H'ers came to campus and worked with students from MSU and the University of Montana, as well as MSU faculty members Ed Dratz, John Miller and Jovanka Voyich. Students continued to learn at home through bimonthly virtual lab meetings and student-devised experiments. In January, students returned to campus to present their research findings, explore science and health careers, and begin work on a final project that can be shared with their communities.

The program combines aspects of MSU's teaching, research and service missions and was developed by MSU Extended University, the 4-H Center for Youth Development, and the MSU Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience.

Participating communities and 4-H members are:

  • Cascade County: Kathy Dunn (team leader), with Tasha McKelvey, Liz Thomas, Austin Hader and Carter Storrusten.
  • Lake County: Amy Vaughan (leader), with Hannah Vaughan, Megan Weider and Brooklinn Hunt.
  • Flathead County: Tara Norick (leader), with Colin Norick, Colter Norick, and Ellowyn Broughton.
  • Lewis and Clark County: Susan Baranek and Robin Frey (co-leaders), with Rachel Baranek, Teresa Patten, Lillian Gribbons, Ravyn Frey and Megan Reeser.
  • Gallatin County: Sue Geske (leader), with Jenny Greger, Rachel Fessenden, Luke Johnson and Taylor Johnson.
  • Yellowstone County: Theresa Foster and Linda Rath (co-leaders), with Jase Foster, Tyler Foster, Andrew Rath and Emily Rath.
  • Custer County: Art Viall (leader), with Kate Rehm, Joel Raisler, Wyatt Roberts and Jesse Roberts.
  • Powder River County: Rebecca Grammens (leader), with Ashley Bird, Carter Lynch, Lydia Lynch and Amy Riley.

For more information, visit

Contact: Carrie Benke, MSU, (406) 994-4351,