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Fehr wins three awards at Kentucky Science Fair

Kiera FehrKiera Fehr, a junior at the Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics from Lexington, recently won awards for creating an eco-friendly product at the Kentucky Science Fair, placing third overall in the competition.   

Fehr earned two awards for her project titled "A Sustainable Approach to Compostable Package Identification," the Ricoh Americas Corporation Sustainable Development Award and the Office of Naval Research – Navy-Marine Corp Excellence in Research Award. The Ricoh Americas Corporation award recognizes principles and technical innovations that help grow environmentally friendly and socially responsible businesses. Fehr competed in the environmental sciences category. Fehr created a plant-based ink that can be used to print corrugated cardboard shipping boxes.   

"I became interested in conducting research in this area when COVID-19 caused my family to accumulate lots of corrugated shipping boxes," Fehr said. "As an avid recycler, I began to put these extra boxes in my composter and vermicompost. When I was researching what else I could do with this excess of cardboard, and I began Googling other ways to use it, I stumbled upon a surprising fact: less than 40% of materials in cardboard bags and boxes labeled as recyclable are made of recyclable material. This inspired me to create a new method to be implemented into the packaging industry in the future."  

Fehr's primary mentor on the project was Dr. Lokendra Pal, an associate professor in the Department of Forest Biomaterials at North Carolina State University.   

The Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics is a dual-credit academy for academically exceptional Kentucky students. Craft Academy provides students with a postsecondary residential experience to complete their junior and senior years of high school by enrolling in college courses. The Craft Academy's purpose is to meet the unique educational needs of academically gifted and talented high school juniors and seniors in the Commonwealth. The academic rigor of the Craft Academy challenges students to excel at their highest level through project-based STEM+X courses and hands-on learning experiences, with emphasis on innovation, design and creativity, and civic and regional engagement.   

To learn more about the Craft Academy at Morehead State, visit www.moreheadstate.edu/craft-academy, email craftacademy@moreheadstate.edu or call 606-783-2093.