Kellie Einck, 2013 Agriscience Award

Written by on September 25, 2013 in 2013, Agriscience Award, Student

Kellie Einck

Kellie Einck

South O’Brien High School
Paullina, Iowa

The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation and the American Farm Bureau Federation are honored to have awarded the achievements of the 2013 $1,000 Agriscience Student’s Award Columbus Scholar.

In 7th grade, Kellie Einck started researching xylitol as a science fair project, with the hope of becoming a dentist. Her 7th and 8th grade years were spent determining xylitol’s anti-carcinogenic properties.

After becoming more aware of current affairs and the growing alternative fuels dilemma, Kellie moved on to making cellulosic ethanol in 9th grade. In 10th grade, she took an animal science class and watched a video lecture on ruminant digestion, and made a connection between ethanol fermentation and ruminant digestion. A ruminant animal has four stomach compartments; in the rumen, material is broken down by bacteria and microorganisms then ferment before passing into the next compartment. Kellie saw this as an opportunity to improve efficiency in the ethanol industry. She constructed an artificial rumen from PVC pipe, a rotisserie and an aquarium heater.

During the first year using the artificial rumen, she used Streptococcus Gallolyticus as the hydrolyzer to break down the sugar bonds. After fermentation within the rumen, the liquids were distilled and sent to Little Sioux Corn Processors’ ethanol plant in Marcus, Iowa for HPLC analysis to determine ethanol, water and denaturant concentration. With results being less than hoped for, she moved to using a whole bacteria sample directly from rumen of bovine rather than one strain of bacteria. HPLC results showed improvement. In the future, Kellie hopes to pinpoint the perfect combination of bacteria strains for optimum fermentation and improve her artificial rumen.

Currently, Kellie is enrolled at Northwest Iowa Community College in Diesel Technology while maintaining a 3.98 GPA at South O’Brien High School. She is Chapter President of her FFA chapter. She presented her science research at the National FFA Agriscience Fair twice, earning 4th and 6th place. At the International Sustainable Worlds science fair in Houston, she received Honorable Mention, and in 2012 she won DuPont Pioneer’s Women of Innovation scholarship.

Kellie was born and raised in Primghar, Iowa to Paul and Lee Einck. In addition, to her research and school work, she is employed at Bob & Scott’s Grocers and Randy’s Service Garage.

The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation is honored to have had the assistance of the following distinguished individuals serving on the 2013 Agriscience Awards Evaluation Committee:

  • Robert W. Clark, Ph.D.
    Executive Director
    Professional Personnel Development Center
    Temple University
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Terri Lawton
    Lawton Family Farms
    Blackstone, Massachusetts
  • Jean Lonie
    Senior Manager
    Marketing Communications, Beef Segment
    Madison, New Jersey
  • Hilary Maricle
    Maricle Family Farms and
    Agriscience Educator
    Northeast Community College
    Albion, Nebraska
  • Gary Matteson
    VP Young, Beginning, Small Farmer
    Programs and Outreach
    The Farm Credit Council
    Washington, D.C.
  • Meghan Mueseler
    Cargill, Inc.
    Wichita, Kansas



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