Some high-schoolers aren’t satisfied with just the science they learn in the classroom. They want real-world experience, hands-on experiments — and an opportunity to change the world.
The Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition was created to encourage those students to pursue their dreams and develop projects that benefit humanity. Project reports are submitted and reviewed by a distinguished panel of judges including current and retired engineers, scientists, educators, and Dr. Ying himself.
This year, more than 20 students entered the competition, but two students’ projects so impressed the judges that these young women—Grayson Huntsinger and Kelly van Woesik—were both named Grand Prize Winners at an awards ceremony April 23.
Each Grand Prize Winner has received a $5,000 scholarship, a $1,000 award for her chosen science teacher or mentor, and an additional $1,000 for her school.
Huntsinger is a junior at Lakeland Grace Academy in Polk County. This was her first time competing in a science competition. For her project, titled “Mission to Mars: Designing a spacecraft impact protection and detection,” she tested two types of sealants – one rubber-based and the other water-based – in designing and creating a simulated pressurized spacecraft hull. Nails were shot into the pressurized plates to simulate high-speed micrometeoroid impacts. Tests indicated that the rubber-based sealant was 100% effective and the water-based sealant was ineffective.
Van Woesik is a senior at Satellite High School in Brevard County, and her entry was the second phase of a project that earned her a spot as a finalist in the 2016 Ying Competition. She used computer codes to analyze the home ranges and migratory habits of great white sharks. This fall, van Woesik will be entering her first year at Florida Institute of Technology, where she hopes to study oceanography.
The runners-up in this year’s competition, who each received a $1,000 scholarship, were Madeline Dale (Edgewood Junior/Senior High School, Brevard), Mitchell Hammack (Oviedo High School, Seminole), and Sean Kennedy (Edgewood Junior/Senior High School, Brevard).
For more information on the Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition and to learn how you can apply next year, click here.
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION FOR ORLANDO SCIENCE CENTER, A FLORIDA-BASED NONPROFIT CORPORATION (REGISTRATION NO. CH2342), MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE OR VISITING THEIR WEBSITE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.