Mat-Su Career and Technical Education School - Alaska Regional High School Science Bowl

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Coach Jolene McDowell has taught various sciences in Maryland, California, Virginia, and Alaska. She holds degrees in biology, education, and chemistry from Old Dominion University and Montana State.  She is considering a move to the dark side and pursuing an Ed.S. in educational leadership. She currently teaches chemistry/AP chemistry and coaches middle school basketball, Science Bowl, and Science Olympiad. She recently received an NSF Fellowship with Colorado State and conducted soil ecology research at the Long Term Ecological Research Station in Toolik, AK. She is a published photographer, recreational runner/hiker, military spouse and proud mom of two boys.  She is always ready to collaborate and recharge with fellow Science Bowl coaches.  Originally from the East Coast, she looks forward to bringing her students back to her home state where they always appreciate the beauty of her home state flag, fresh fruit, and campus chocolate milk.

Coach Greg Danner teaches introductory biology and physical science classes for primarily ninth and tenth graders, and he also coaches NSB and Science Olympiad for Mat-Su Career and Technical High School in Wasilla, Alaska. He moved to Alaska in 2000 and arrived there directly from Florida. Driven to Alaska by a love of cool weather, long days, wildlife and wilderness, he continues to enjoy all of those and more. His careers include zookeeping, freelance science writing, and work as a museum educator, curator, and director. He is proud to be one of the few people ever whose job it was to take an alligator above the Arctic Circle to share a truly exotic animal and its biology with Alaska Natives in some of the most remote communities of North America. He has been happily married to Jacinda (a better teacher than he’ll ever be) for 30 years even though she doesn’t let him bring the alligators home very often.

Tibor Huxford is a senior whose favorite subjects are calculus, physics, chemistry, and biology. Some of Tibor’s hobbies include volunteering at his local recycling center, competing in various academic competitions, scuba diving, and building and testing new decks in Magic the Gathering: Arena. After high school, he would like to study to become an environmental engineer, with a focus on developing new methods for reducing and capturing greenhouse gas emissions.

Kristin Mallett is a senior whose interests are math, science (most specifically geology), and crochet. She participates in a youth leadership team, NTHS, Science Bowl, and Science Olympiad. She plans to attend University of Alaska Fairbanks to study geological engineering.

Alex Prayner is a senior who is very excited to attend his third National Science Bowl competition. He understands that there are many motivating factors for each of the 64 teams, but he believes none are more important than the intense competition, long-lasting friendships made, and delectable dairy products in the 4H Center, which he will dearly miss for the second year in a row. Alex enjoys participating in academic competitions, downhill skiing, wrestling, running, and anything outdoors or with friends. After high school, Alex plans to major in finance and minor in cognitive science at a university still to be determined. With his degree, Alex hopes to work as a financial analyst in the field of behavioral finance. He also encourages anyone from other teams to reach out to him if they are looking to meet other people from around the country, and the competition structure permits it.

Xander Backus is a sophomore who’s favorite subjects are mathematics, chemistry, and computer science. He participates in several science clubs, as well as Boy Scouts and high school diving. In his spare time Xander likes to read books and scientific articles, watch the latest viral internet videos, and play with his pet dog and rabbit. After high school, Xander hopes to get a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. in physics. He then plans to work at CERN, smashing tiny particles together and discovering all the wonders and mysteries of the subatomic world.