Jupiter High Students Present Research to International Scientists, Scholars Take Note of Project Excellence

Jupiter Students

After spending months collecting water samples, trekking through local natural areas, and poring over data, seven students from the Jupiter Environmental Research and Field Studies Academy (JERFSA) presented their own field research to experts at an international event.

“The experience was amazing. I am super grateful to have received feedback from field experts and receive guidance from Dr. Thornton,” said Mercedes Cassidy, a Jupiter High School junior who spent a year and a half working on her research project with Jonathan Dickinson State Park about the effects of pesticide treatments.

The JERFSA students were the only high schoolers to compete in the annual American Water Resources Association (AWRA) International Conference.

“It felt like a huge accomplishment because I was working with people who have gotten their PhDs, and it felt like something special to be a part of,” said Parker Cameron, a junior whose project focused on aerial glyphosate spraying around the Jonathan Dickinson State Park Coastal Area.

The students’ independent research projects focused on surface water, ground water, and drinking water. They conducted these projects over the last year with local colleges, government organizations, non-governmental organizations, state parks, and national refuges. A local laboratory ran chemical analyses.

“Some students started last year and have been working all through summer,” said Dr. Teresa Thornton, a JERFSA teacher. “It’s been a very long process, but our students spent all summer, every other week, going out and keeping track of this. The fact that this international association [AWRA] is so supportive of our students, selecting them to compete with college students and graduates, is just thrilling.”

Congratulations to the following students who were invited to present their projects:

  • Parker Cameron: “The Fate and Transport of Aerial Spraying Glyphosate in The Jonathan Dickinson State Park (Jdsp) Coastal Area, Martin County Florida”
  • Mercedes Cassidy: “The Effects of Park Sanctioned Pesticide Treatments by Helicopter on Non-Target Wetland Species, Jonathan Dickinson State Park”
  • Mia Delaney: “Quantifying the Cognitive Dissonance Behavior, Systems Maintenance Knowledge, and Water Education of Private Well Owners in Two Residential Regions of Southwest Florida”
  • Ethan Lantzy: “End-Use Fluoride Levels of Public Potable Water Contrasted With the Reports of Associated Municipal Levels in Fifteen Cities of Southern Florida”
  • Emily Richter: “The Identification and Quantification of Microplastics in the Surface Waters, Coastal Waters, and IQ Waters of Jupiter, Florida:A Pilot Study 2017-2019”
  • Dalton Silverberg: “The Identification of Human Fecal Matter in the Drinking Waters of Jupiter Farms Florida”
  • Teehan Truxall: “Using a Community-Based Environmental Monitoring Research Program, SURF RIDER, BLUE WATER TASK FORCE to Identify Faecalis in Fresh and Salt Waters of Jupiter, Florida”

“These students had this opportunity because they are in the environmental academy. You know they’re special because no one else in the country did this. Our students did this,” said Tammy Deleonardo, Jupiter High School’s Choice program coordinator. “This is very exciting because they are presenting meaningful information that will help them in their future endeavors.”



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