February SAE Spotlight: Mary Benoit

By: Madison Smith, Contributing Writer

Mary Benoit was nominated for the February FFA SAE Spotlight. She is a senior at Centralia High School and is involved in cross country, FFA, SKRUBS, Beta Chi Pi and National Honor Society.

Benoit’s SAE is an experiment she has been conducting to see the effect Bisphenol-A, or BPA, has had on the growth and germination of plants. BPA is a known endocrine disruptor, meaning it has detrimental effects on the reproductive systems of organisms like humans. She wanted to see what kind of effect it would have on the plants.

Last semester Benoit started this project in her STEM class. She said, “I picked this project because of how widespread the effects of BPA have become. BPA is found in a wide variety of plastics and has been wreaking havoc on people’s bodies both nationwide and worldwide. There has been little research done on how it affects plants, however, so I wanted to see firsthand what it did to plants.” The data she has collected has led her to the conclusion that the plants with the BPA water grew better than her control plants.

Benoit has learned a great deal from her SAE. She has learned a lot about plant growth and how to sufficiently maintain a healthy environment for plants. She has also learned, from the results of her experiment, that BPA might possibly promote healthy germination and development in plants.

Benoit was selected for this spotlight because she has gone above and beyond with her SAE. Working with plants and creating an experiment to compose takes a lot of hard work and effort over a long period of time. This SAE has also helped her prepare for the future and learn more about plants.

The objective of a Supervised Agricultural Experience is to work with educational programs to better prepare FFA students for their future careers. The simple skills such as communication and patience will help them succeed in life. Scott Stone, FFA Adviser, says he has his students do an SAE for the learning experience. He says they can explore any career interest they may have and even find a field they might not want to follow. Stone said, “I hope they all have the chance to earn a profit, but I hope they can learn what areas they are interested in as a potential career.”

In the future, Benoit is looking to pursue a career that deals with plants. She said this experiment has been a stepping stone into more advanced and complex sciences that she plans to develop in the future.

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