Laird wins regional science prize

A home-schooled student from Cordova, Helen Laird, has won regional competition in the Alaska Statewide High School Science Symposium, and now heads for national competition, May 2-5 in Maryland.

Laird was awarded a $2,000 tuition scholarship, plus a cash prize from ASHSSS, and travel expenses for herself and her mother, Katherine Laird, for the 56th Junior Science and Humanities Symposia Program at Hunt Valley, MD, will be courtesy of the national competition sponsors.

Laird’s winning essay found a correlation between the amount of macroplastics on shore and the concentration of microplastics in the nearshore sea. These results, combined with her methods and thoroughness of her research, secured her first place, judges said.

The competition is like a science fair on a college level, said Denise Kind, co-director of the symposium. Contestants must develop a hypothesis and test it, write a research paper on their findings and present results at the symposium to their peers, teachers and judges. Divisions of competition include environmental sciences, engineering, organismal biology and microbiology.