Senior Wins Regional Science and Engineering Fair Award, Advances to International Competition

March 02, 2021


On Friday, February 19th, senior Gwen Eichfeld, a member of both the Shattuck-St. Mary’s BioScience and Hockey Centers of Excellence, was named the Southeast Minnesota Regeneron ISEF (International Science & Engineering Fair) Award Winner. This win means that she has advanced straight to the international competition; the only high schooler to do so from our region of Minnesota!

Gwen’s project and paper, “Cross-Cultural Interpersonal Distance Preferences and COVID-19 Case Frequency,” took an in-depth look at the differences in how closely people tend to stand together in various countries to see if these differences had an impact on the initial spread of COVID-19 in those countries. Director of the BioScience program, Dr. Maren LaLiberty, described this work as, “a mountainous project,” when explaining the vast amounts of research and statistical analysis that Gwen did for this project.

Besides immediately advancing to the International Science & Engineering Fair, Gwen’s paper was advanced to the North Central Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (NCJSHS), which will occur on March 25. Her project also advanced to the MN State Science & Engineering Fair (MNSSEF), where she has decided to compete in the “Computational Biology and Bioinformatics” category and “Computational Epidemiology” sub-category. Gwen will compete in the same categories in the Regeneron ISEF competition later in May and is looking forward to having the opportunity to continue to hone her project and presentation skills before the main event.

This is the first year that members of our BioScience program have entered any competitions, and we are incredibly proud of the immense work Gwen has done to succeed thus far. 

Gwen is in her fourth year at SSM and is also a valued member of the Girls Hockey Center of Excellence where she plays on the Girls Prep team as a leading defenseman.

Eager to read more stories about recent BioScience students’ successes? Enjoy learning about senior Amber Lu ’21 publishing her first research paper in a peer-reviewed journal or view last year’s Senior Research Presentations.

  • Gwen Eichfeld ’21, Shattuck-St. Mary’s BioScience and Hockey Centers of Excellence program student-athlete