ISU sophomore wins international award

Katie Robb

An ISU student has been awarded the grand prize in an international science competition for her research on honeybees.

Carol Fassbinder, sophomore in genetics and philosophy, won one of five grand prizes at the Worldwide Young Researchers for the Environment contest in Hanover, Germany. Fassbinder was one of 143 participants from 73 countries invited to participate in the contest, said Brian Meyer of the ISU Communications Service.

As the grand prize winner, Fassbinder will receive a cash prize of 2,000 Euros, or $1,700. She also won a trip back to Germany next summer, where she will work in a Nestle food science laboratory for two months.

Fassbinder’s work was based on developing an organic compound that would kill parasitic mites that attack honeybees without causing damage to the bees.

“That’s the ultimate challenge, to find something that would kill one kind of pest but not any beneficials,” said Fassbinder’s project adviser Joel Coats, professor and chairman of entomology.

Fassbinder said the award came as a complete surprise.

“I didn’t expect to win,” she said. “I’ve been working on this for quite a few years, and I’ve put a lot of work into it. It’s good to see somebody else appreciate it.”

Fassbinder said she began working to solve various honeybee problems at age 13 and has been working on her current topic for nearly six years.

“It’s been a lot of very hard work, but a lot of good things have come out of it,” she said. “It’s given me an idea of what research is like.”

Fassbinder’s childhood offered a foundation for her research. She grew up in Elgin where her father is a beekeeper.

“I went home to work last summer, and all of my research has been done there,” she said. “My family has helped me a lot along the way.”