Duluth High Schooler is Taking Science Skills Across Nation

By KBJR News 1

June 8, 2013 Updated Jun 8, 2013 at 6:17 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - This is 10th grader Tim Renier...

"...and the official title of my project is: "The effects of a multi–factor hand hygiene intervention with motivational interviewing on hand washing effectiveness, behavior, attitudes, and absences of high school students—it's a long title," said Renier, laughing, as he stood by a towering hardwood board that featured his findings.

To be clear, this was only Renier's latest project in a series of public health–related projects that he had developed since 5th grade "when I had done an Inventors Project on a self–sanitizing conveyer belt," said Renier.

It sounds complex, and that's because it is. But that's exactly what makes Renier happy. Along with taking his junior high projects to regional tournaments twice—placing as high as the top five percent—Renier has continued to expand upon his work.

"And, as I've been doing my research I've been realizing just how important it is, and how beneficial it can be to our society," said Renier.

That attitude, coupled with a competitive spirit, has taken Renier's latest work to Phoenix for this year's International Science and Engineering Fair. His project, in laymen's terms, highlighted a 14 week hand–washing intervention on a population of 165 students.

"The students developed effective hand–washing... they began practicing that... they knew why they were practicing it, and it became self–directed... they were significantly less sick than the control population for the entire course of the study," said Renier, pointing to the results on his board.

He placed in the top 10, to the delight of his mentor and former middle school science teacher Robin Churchill.

"I've seen him grow into an adult researcher and really take on a career path. It's just been an honor to be part of it—I'm very proud of Tim and what he's done," said Churchill as they sat together in a Holy Rosary classroom.

As for Renier, he plans to continue expanding what he started years ago, hoping his love for science, stats, and improving public health will be a kick–start to a career. Until then, he plans to enjoy the benefits that come with placing 2nd in this year's ISEF Behavioral and Social Sciences competition.

"It's $1500 and I actually get an asteroid named after me. So, pretty cool science prize, I have to say," said a smiling Renier, next to an impressive display of trophies.

...recognition that's out of this world.

Oh, and for any Northland businesses looking to improve their employees' health, Renier added that he's always looking for the next perfect group to experiment with.

- Posted to the Web by Billy Wagness