Northeast Florida High Schoolers Competing At International Science Fair

May 14, 2015

Dengue fever is caused by the Dengue virus. Episcopal School of Jacksonville senior Carly Crump's research on proteins could potentially help create a vaccine.
Credit Sanofi Pasteur / Flickr

Three Northeast Florida high-school students are among the 1,500 finalists at this year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, happening now in Pittsburgh.

Organizers say the fair is the world’s largest pre-college science competition. Young scientists and engineers from more than 75 countries are competing for more than $4 million dollars in awards and scholarships.

Among those students is Carly Crump, a senior at Episcopal School of Jacksonville. Her research in the microbiology category is on dengue viruses.

“So I really got inspired to work with viruses and mosquitoes when my uncle was first diagnosed with west nile virus four years ago in Jacksonville, Florida,” she said. “I was just so shocked that someone so large as ourselves could be so damaged by something so small such as a virus.”

Crump’s research was to identify which proteins help the virus spread in hopes of helping create a vaccine. But singling out more than 500 of them was no easy task.

“To actually get where I am now, it took 70-hour weeks in the lab  for 11 weeks straight,” she said.

While she hopes to continue her research at the University of Florida, for now, Crump can enjoy her time at the fair meeting other students.

“My favourite part of science fair isn’t the actual science component,” she said. “It’s meeting the other kids and socializing. I have friends all across the world now  due to science fair.”

Crump one of three students from the First Coast at the fair. Ponte Vedra High School seniors Charis and Cassia Wang are also in Pittsburgh to present their project on antibiotic-resistant bacteria.