Five Thomas County Central High School students recently attended the International Environmental Youth Symposium. They competed against high school and college students from four continents, and all five students brought home awards.
In the poster presentation category, junior C’lee Kornegay won first place in “Water Degradation” for her research on the effect of silver nanoparticles on algae growth. In the essay competition, senior Eli Kosciw placed first in the category of “Protecting the Atmosphere.”
Seniors Maggie Martin placed second with her essay in the “Preventing Air and Water Pollution” category, and Vince Wynn placed second in the category of “Promoting Safe Management of Solid and Toxic Wastes.” Junior Hailey Ferrel placed third in the poster presentation category for her research on soil erosion.
“I am overjoyed to see the competitiveness of not only my writing but also my peers’ writing at the international level,” Eli Kosciw said. “It highlights the academic excellence TCCHS always strives for with our student body.”
The two-day event was hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency in Atlanta. The theme, “One World, One Environment,” emphasized the interdependence of the world when it comes to the health of the environment.
The program included presentations from environmental researchers and from student activists. Earth Saver Girl Brooklyn Wright discussed children’s books that she authored. One More Generation (OMG) founders Carter and Olivia Reis discussed their “One Less Straw” movement and asked attendees to refuse straws in restaurants for the month of October. They were followed by keynote speaker Rohan Patel, a special assistant to the U.S. president.
The presentations left an impression on the attendees.
“The symposium provided me with skills to bring back home in not just S.T.E.M.-oriented fields, but also public policy,” Vince Wynn said. “Just being in the same room as the president’s special assistant was enough to inspire me to act in a way that benefits generations for years to come.”
C’lee Kornegay learned how to network in order to increase job opportunities.
“We also learned the importance of making a change to reduce global warming,” she said.
Maggie Martin appreciated the chance to “network and learn from prominent members of the scientific community.”
This is the second year that the symposium was open to high school students and their teachers.
“In the two days of this event, students got to experience current research, learn about career opportunities and current environmental issues, and mingle with students and experts from across the country and from other parts of the world,” TCCHS science teacher Laura Kornegay said. “No matter what students end up studying, the health of the environment will always matter to them.”