May 18, 2007
Reported by: Britney Glaser
With this school year wrapping up, it's that time when student achievements are given some special recognition. Two local students have achievements that are bringing international recognition to our area. Taylor Wood and Mary Unsworth are in Albuquerque, New Mexico this week as finalists in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, vying for their piece of more than $4 million in scholarship money and prizes.
Wood is a freshman at Sam Houston High School, and Unsworth is a sophomore at Kingswood Academy in Sulphur. Both of these young ladies are competing against 1,500 students representing more than 45 countries.
Wood's scientific idea of using insect repellant plants as natural pesticides could transform the mosquito population right here in Southwest Louisiana. "I began by first growing mosquitoes and then testing to see how my own extracts - how they work on mosquito larva and to see if my extracts are environmentally safe," says Wood.
Unsworth has developed a medical project that could save lives in the emergency room. "What I created was a basic medical record contained on a memory stick that you can wear around your neck, so that if you are in an accident, the doctors will find this, plug it into a computer, pull up your records and it will save your life and prevent a terrible accident," says Unsworth.
Each year about 15 percent of finalists file for patents or copyrights on their projects - something both Wood and Unsworth say they are interested in doing. "I'm interested in doing it," says Wood, "and getting more involved in my experiments."
But for today, these experiments could land each girl with $50,000 in scholarships.
"This has definitely been a great experience for us," says Unsworth.