“Bat Girl” takes Grand Champion in Science Fair!

If you’ve been following my blogs (Letters from a Young Bat Scientist–No. 1 through No. 8) about rising star in the world of bat conservation, Alexis Valentine aka “Bat Girl,” then you know this amazing 8th grader has been extolling the virtues of bats to the public since 3rd grade, giving lectures to the Rotary Club, winning science fair competitions, and doing research on bats and white-nose syndrome (WNS) in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park! Alexis was in grade school when she had her first encounter with a bat (above photo). (more…)

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Letters from a Young Bat Scientist-No. 7

Alexis "Bat Girl" Valentine's Science Fair Project
Alexis “Bat Girl” Valentine’s Science Fair Project March 2015

This is the final blog of a series introducing an inspiring young lady, Alexis Valentine, aka “Bat Girl” through her own words.

Hi Mr. & Mrs. Tuttle,

I hope you guys are doing good. Any exciting bat news?

We finally had our county science fair after lots of reschedules due to snow days. I’m happy to say that I got 1st place in the 6th–8th grade Jr. division in biological science and I got overall grand champion in the 6th–8th grade Jr. division.

I will go on to the regional competition at the end of March.

Thanks for all of your help!

Alexis “Bat-girl”

March 13, 2015

Hi Mr. & Mrs. Tuttle,

I got my comment sheets back from the regional History Fair. I received a rating of Excellent with many Superior markings. I didn’t win as much as I did at the science fair, but history really isn’t my thing but the judges really loved the info 🙂

They loved hearing about bats. One judge said that it was a great topic and that I was very enthusiastic and good at public speaking. They told me they look forward to me competing next year too.

Have fun on your trip and be safe.

Alexis, “Bat-girl”

Alexis getting questioned by the judges
Alexis getting questioned by the judges

April 2, 2015

Hi Mr. & Mrs. Tuttle

How are you guys doing?

I just got back from the regional science fair. I am happy to report that I won 3 awards with a total of $150 in prizes.

2 special awards:

*from the “Association of Women in Science”: $25 prize for outstanding science project by a young female.

*from “TN Association of Science Teachers”: $100 prize for outstanding demonstration in using the scientific method in research

Overall award (6th–8th grade):

*Excellence award & nominee to compete at the Broadcom Masters & a $25 prize

*received top 10% rating of all projects submitted out of 127

Different judges asked me questions for 2 straight hours and I competed against engineering projects and all kinds of other types of science projects.

Great news for the bats! More people now know about WNS.


We hope that her example will inspire additional young people as well as potential mentors. Such dedicated youth are our hope for the future.

Alexis's Acknowledgements
Alexis’s Acknowledgements

All photos were taken by Alexis’s mom and first mentor. Thank you, Amy, for helping to make this blog series possible!

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Letters from a Young Bat Scientist-No. 1

Merlin and some bat fans who attended his talk. Alexis Valentine, “Bat Girl,” is on Merlin’s left, and her mom, Amy Ejma, is on his right.


Merlin and I met Alexis Valentine, aka “Bat Girl,” last spring in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Her mom, a math and science teacher, brought her to hear Dr. Tuttle’s keynote address at the Discover Life in America‘s annual meeting. We were impressed with the young bat scientist, and we thought you would be too!

Alexis Valentine won 1st place in her division in two categories: Environmental and Life Sciences
Alexis Valentine won 1st place in her division in two categories: Environmental and Life Sciences

Over the past year, Alexis has been keeping us informed via emails of her bat activities, past and present. She became interested in bats while in the third grade. She’s currently in the seventh. Every one of those years, Alexis has given a talk to the Rotary Club about bats, and she’s been entering competitions and winning prizes! Read what she wrote in her own words:


April 6, 2014

Hi Dr. Tuttle!

I wanted to let you know about the regional science fair that I just competed in. I won 1st place in the Environmental science Jr. Division category and 1st place in the Life Science Jr. Division category. I won a nice big plaque with my project name and my name on it and a $75 Visa gift card from the Leidos Corporation and 2 huge science books from Sigma Xi.

My project was “Support Bats & Let Them Flap!” My research was on bats and white-nose syndrome. I just wanted to say thank you for all of the encouragement you gave to me when you were here in TN. I can’t wait for this summer and more bat research.

Have a “Bat-tastic” day!


Alexis Valentine “Bat Girl”

In the next blog Alexis will tell us about the exciting things she did for her summer 2014 bat research.

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