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Delve into the fascinating research conducted by Hunter Bailey, a remarkable high school student from Baker High School in Baker, Montana, and his brilliant AP Biology Teacher, Linda Rost, PhD. Learn how they have unraveled mysteries of contamination in a local recreational lake, and how their exceptional work has garnered recognition, including winning the Montana 2024 State Science Fair competition. 

The Journey to a Healthier Lake: A High School Student's Research Unveiled

Discover the groundbreaking research by Hunter Bailey, graduating senior at Baker High School, Baker, Montana, that’s transforming our understanding of lake ecosystems.

Date: Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Time: 8:30am – 9:15am MST

Innovative Research

Youth in Science

Environmental Impact


Hunter Bailey, AP Bio Student – Class of ’24·Baker High School, Baker, MT

Hunter Bailey is a senior at Baker High School in Baker, MT and plans to attend Dordt University to major in exercise science. Growing up, he watched his father’s health decline due to past athletic injuries and illness and got to the point to where he stopped walking. Through faith, surgery, and hard work, he eventually gained his strength back and regained most of his abilities. This exposure is what helped drive Hunter’s passion for sports preventive care and recovery. Hunter also experienced his own struggles during team sports. He found himself being the bench player but not only just their bench boy, but also the punching bag, shove in a locker teammate, not good enough kid, and the hey let’s steal his shoes kid. He held his head up and attended every game and practice, even when his parents said he could quit. After attending the NBC Basketball Camps, one of the coaches nominated Hunter to apply for their International Basketball Team. He explained to him that sometimes it not just about how good you are, but what type of player you are and the person you are inside. In 2018, through faith and fellowship, he was able to play Basketball and tour Germany. Hunter was able to share his struggles, how at times he wanted to give up, and having one person see something in him that started this whole path. These experiences shaped his path to pursue a career in exercise science, using science and medicine to help people overcome challenges.

Linda Rost, PhD, High School Science Teacher·Baker High School, Baker, MT

Linda Rost teaches biology, anatomy and physiology, AP biology, chemistry, and science research for grades 10-12 at Baker High School in Baker, Montana. Rost facilitated a successful science research program at Carter County High School in Ekalaka from 2007-2014 and started the program in Baker in 2014. In her twelve-year career, twenty-two of her students have competed at national or international science competitions. One student placed 1st at the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium in 2012 and another placed 3rd in 2019. Additionally, one placed 3rd at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and four have placed 4th. Rost obtained a bachelor of science in range science from New Mexico State University, a master of education in curriculum and instruction and a master of science in science education from Montana State University – Bozeman. She is currently pursuing a doctor of philosophy degree in curriculum and instruction – STEM from Texas Tech University. Rost is the chair of the Baker Public Schools Professional Development Committee, which she created in 2018 to focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and Indian Education for All (IEFA) K-12 collaborations and grant projects. She serves as a teacher leader for the Montana Partnerships with Regions for Excellence in STEM (MPRES) and the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP) grants. She is a three-time winner of the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium Teacher Award, a two-time Continental Cares grant recipient and the 2016 National Vernier Engineering Contest winner.

John Tillotson, Independent Consultant·WaterTrust

John is an independent consultant and founder of WaterTrust. Through modern DNA science and professional services, he works with partners to help solve water mysteries, in ways that outdated techniques are not capable of matching. From fecal, nutrient, and pathogenic contamination, wastewater treatment, anaerobic digestion, nutrient removal, and recovery, combating microbial influenced corrosion and Legionella development, a new window to the microbial world exposes infinite possibilities. John has a 25-year water science and technology background. He holds an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Tufts University, and a B.S. in Geochemistry from West Chester University.