Dublin Coffman High School student Emily Fan researched the differences of bean production between GMO and non-GMO plants when exposed to organic and inorganic fertilizer. She became interested in this project after taking AP Environmental Science and was enthralled by the world of agriculture and how it relates to the environment.

Donna Parker, Fan’s AP Environmental Science and IB Biology teacher, advised Fan on her experiment and suggested using soybeans. Fan commented, “Soybeans are very convenient! It wasn’t an extremely large crop like corn, and was relatively manageable. Soy plants also made collecting data in my experimental quantifiable because I could just count the number of beans a plant grew.”

Ohio Soybean board member Dan Schwartz provided Fan with soybeans to conduct her research. Schwartz said, “Young inquisitive students like Emily Fan are the future of agriculture, the world’s source of food and fiber. I was encouraged and supported when I was young and I just want to return the favor to the next generation.”

Fan initially found that GMO plants produce more beans. Next, she decided to see if fertilizers or genetic modification would provide higher yields. After collecting her data, she discovered that the group of GMO soybeans in combination with organic fertilizer had produced the highest yield.

As a senior, Fan is looking ahead toward college next fall. She plans to study either biology or environmental science but has not yet decided where she will attend.