Updated 06/26/2012 08:45 PM
High school science standouts go head to head at SUNY Oswego
Some of the world's brightest high school students are facing off this week in Oswego as part of SUNY Oswego's Genius Olympiad. The science and art fair is centered around an intense competition, but as our Candace Hopkins found out, the students will walk away with much more than just medals.
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OSWEGO, N.Y. -- With more than 400 students from 49 countries and 32 states, the Genius Olympiad is not your average science fair.
"It's neat to see students from all these countries working on these same projects," said judge Peter Plumley.
This year, those projects all focus on environmental issues. The students were selected from more than 600 applicants to present their work to judges, who say the projects are exceeding expectations.
"These high school students are doing the work of high school graduates and so college graduates are very cerebral folks, but what they're doing here is fantastic," said Plumley.
One of this year's standouts, Maeve Harris, a high school freshman from Washington State, has designed a new wind turbine blade.
"I designed these blades using biomimicry, which is looking at patterns and sequences commonly found in nature and using them to make our industrialized world more efficient," said Harris.
The verdict: Judges say her idea could someday change the industry, but Harris' goal is much more simple.
"One thing that inspires me the most is helping the environment, because our world is in such crisis with many problems and I feel like anything I can do to help would be a great achievement," Harris said.
By bringing so many different students together, organizers say this event is the ideal forum for students to exchange what they've learned about science, but the students themselves say the most important lessons here are about something else altogether.
"It's different, but it's really amazing, to be with people from Kosovo and other continents. It's really interesting and it's a good experience. I think it's the best experience of my life," said Mexican student Maria Rodriguez.
Experiences these students will carry with them, long after returning home.
On Thursday the winning students will receive gold, silver and bronze medals, with many continuing on this summer to other competitions.