Cloquet student sweeps a series of science competitions

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Johanna Bernu, a Junior at Cloquet High School, studied the disinfectant properties of yellow water lilies, she told The Lift, “with guidance from tradition teachings from traditional teachings within community, my family, around North America.”

The project has helped her to sweep an impressive series of national and international science competitions.

“I thought it would be easy to test, and then it kind of snowballed to where it’s not easy anymore.”

Bernu was able to prove that yellow lilies- when they’re dried and powered and used on bacteria -are as effective as chlorhexidine, an over the counter disinfectant.

Johanna received awards in the 2023 Minnesota State Science Fair, National Stockholm Junior Waterprize, Genius Olympiad, and Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair.

She’s even earned a $40,000 scholarship to the University of Arizona Tucson.