Best Ever High School Essays: BIO Awards $1,000 To Eight Contest Winners

  • Contact: Charles Craig
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WASHINGTON, D.C., May 11, 1999 - Eight high school seniors each will receive $1,000 college scholarships as winners of the Biotechnology Industry Organization's (BIO) 1999 Essay Contest. The students' teachers will receive $500 grants.

BIO has awarded $60,000 in college scholarships and teacher grants since the contest was launched in 1993. This year's winners were selected from more than 300 high school seniors in 21 states. The 1999 contest also is the first year an honorable mention prize was given.

"These are publication-quality essays, imaginative and grounded in superb science. They are great fun to read," said BIO President Carl B. Feldbaum. "We congratulate this year's winners for their remarkable proposals applying biotechnology to a wide range of practical problems."

The students were asked to define a community problem and write an essay on how biotechnology could solve it. The winners described ways of using biotechnology to make roadside plants tolerant of highway salt; to prevent aflatoxin contamination in corn; to cure lactose intolerance in people; to prevent blight in chestnut trees; to eliminate wastewater pollution in rivers; to treat progressive retinal atrophy in dogs; to develop artificial human organs; and to eliminate air pollution from manufacturing plants. The honorable mention essay wasmorea light-hearted description of how biotechnology might be used to improve the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl chances.

The winners and their teachers are:

  • Jennifer Stierwalt, of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, and her teacher, Dr. Mary Davidson. The essay was titled, "Battling the Methyl Ethyl Ketone Monster with Biotechnology." Ms. Steirwalt plans to attend the University of Alabama.
  • Laura Fleeman, of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, and her teacher, Dr. Mary Davidson. The essay was titled, "Aflatoxin: A Danger to Corn and the Economy." Ms. Fleeman plans to attend Delta State University, in Mississippi.
  • Anne Williams, of Enloe High School, in North Carolina, and her teacher, Brian Wood. The essay was titled, "Saving the Neuse River by Applications of Biotechnology: Removal of Nitrogen and Phosphorous from Wastewater Using Genetically Engineered Plants." Ms. Williams plans to attend the University of Washington.
  • Pete Wido, of Canandaigua Academy, in New York, and his teacher, Anthony Bertino. The essay was titled, "The Chestnut Blight." Mr. Wido plans to attend St. John Fisher College, in New York.
  • Emily Smith, of Contoocook Valley Regional High School, and her teacher, Carol Young. The essay was titled, "Salt Tolerance in Roadside Plants." Ms. Smith plans to attend Williams College, in Massachusetts.
  • Naveen Rao, of Mills Godwin Specialty Center, in Virginia, and his teacher, Ellen Mayo. The essay was titled, "Development of Polylayer Cell Cultures." Mr. Rao plans to attend Duke University, in North Carolina.
    Emily Rowland, of Mills Godwin Speciality Center, in Virginia, and her teacher, Ellen Mayo. The essay was titled, "Lactose Intolerance: The Quest for a Cure." Ms. Rowan plans to attend the University of Iowa.
  • Jennifer Payne, of Mills Godwin Specialty Center, in Virginia, and her teacher, Ellen Mayo. The essay was titled, "A Light in a Dark World: Treating Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Dogs." Ms. Payne plans to attend the University of Virginia.

The honorable mention award went to Kara Moran, of North Platte High School, in Missouri, and her teacher, Kevin Conant. The essay was titled, "Creating a Super Team." Ms. Moran plans to attend the University of Missouri.

BIO represents more than 850 biotechnology companies, academic institutions and state biotechnology centers in 47 states and 26 nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health care, agricultural and environmental products.

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About BIO
BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO's blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.