Two Maine teenagers, Paige Brown from Bangor High School and Demetri Maxim from Gould Academy have won prizes at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) held in Phoenix, Arizona.
Paige Brown, a senior at Bangor High School, competed in the environmental engineering category with her project on removing phosphorus from water, for which she won first-place honors. Demetri Maxim, from Bethel’s Gould Academy, also won a first-place award for his project which explored the idea of creating kidney cells from the skin to minimize the possibility of patient’s body rejecting the organ after transplant. In addition to winning in the translational medical science category, Maxim also brought home a NASA award, and two more nods from the Patent and Trademark Office Society and China’s Association for Science and Technology.
According to Brown, phosphorus pollution is affecting ponds and streams around Bangor, after leaves, grass clippings and storm runoff which includes fertilizer, end up in the water. The phosphorus buildup creates a favorable environment for algae blooms, which expand and end up blocking sun rays. Without sunlight, plants living in the water eventually die off. Moreover, the lives of fish and animals living in the water are put in danger once the algae break down, as in the process it reduces the quantity of dissolved oxygen in the water. Brown, who will enroll at Stanford University come fall, is also planning to create a device that can remove the phosphorus from water.
Both Maxim and Brown have participated in the ISEF before. Maxim, now at his third participation, won last year ta top prize in the cellular and molecular biology category. This year, the two were joined by another Maine competitor, Bangor High School’s Sydney McDonald. A first-time participant, McDonald failed to bring home an award. This year’s fair attracted 1,700 submissions from entrants in 75 countries, who competed in 22 categories.
The fair, organized by Society for Science & the Public, attracts entries from over 7 million high school students around the world. Each year, approximately 1,700 entrants qualify for the event and compete for scholarships and awards exceeding USD 4 million. Both awarded Maine teenagers won $3,000 for their projects.
Image source: Wikipedia