Awardee Bios

Andrea

Sarah

Christopher

G. Paul

Emily

Rachel

Matthew

Susan

Shep

Katie

Paige

Kriste

Andrea

The Natural Environment of New Lisbon New York

braunip

Grade 9
 New Jersey

Question1: How did you first become interested in science? In writing?

Answer:  I've always been interested in science, as far as plants are concerned. I love gardening. I've been writing since I was able to hold a pencil. I enjoy writing poetry and manuscripts.

Question2: Where did you get the inspiration for your entry?

Answer:  My inspiration came from spending so much time at my family home in New Lisbon, NY. I've always enjoyed spending time outside and watching and looking for different animal species.

Questions3: Who are your favorite scientists or writers? And
how have they affected your work?

Answer:  My favorite scientist is probably Mendell, because he worked with plants, genetics, and cross breeding. My favorite writers are Ann Rinaldi, Emer Kilton and Louis L'Amour. I'm sure that some of their writing styles have influenced mine. They are all great writers with a unique style of their own.

Questions4: Do you have any advice for other young scientists and writers?

Answer:  For scientists I'd say, "stick to your morals". To other writers my advice would be to write what you believe as true. Never give up on any form of writing. Everything a person writes can be unique and special.

Question5: What are your other interests? Do they influence your science? Your writing?

Answer:  My other interests are gardening, basketball, snow mobiling, hiking, roller blading and baking. Everything I do and every experience I have influences my writing. A person can only write what she knows. At least, that is the way I see it.

Sarah

Aspen: A Keystone Species

drummp

Grade 11
 Colorado

Question1: How did you first become interested in science? In writing?

Answer:  My father, Boyce Drummond, is a field biologist/entomologist who helped to kindle my love of nature by sharing with me his own love of natural history. Through him I was able to meet other scientists and naturalists, and I've often gone along on field excursions and classes. Both my parents encouraged me to explore the natural world and ask questions about what I experienced. I've always been fortunate to live in a rural area where I can explore the natural world first hand, and three years ago I began keeping a nature journal of sketches and notations about everything I observed. The journals became a form of self-expression as well, and served to link my inner self to phenomena of life around me. Stories and books have always been incredibly important parts of my live. From an early age I enjoyed listening to (and later reading) stories, acting them out, living inside them! A large amount of my time has always been spent reading. When I was nine years old I discovered that I could transcribe onto paper the tales I created and lived in my mind, as well as real life sagas being enacted around me. I have been writing ever since.

Question2: Where did you get the inspiration for your entry?

Answer:  Aspen is a keystone species throughout the Pikes Peak region where I live. I am fascinated by the tree's life cycle, and love to draw its contorted intertwining branches. Looking through previous sketches, and observing while walking among the aspens near my house, provided the inspiration for my paper. I decided to explore in-depth the microhabitats created by aspen's interactions with other organisms, and to explain its significance in preserving the balance of our region's biodiversity.

Questions3: Who are your favorite scientists or writers? And how have they affected your work?

Answer:  I enjoy reading Ann Zwinger's work. And her books are a source of great inspiration for me. Her writing style has given me valuable insight on blending personal experience with scientific fact. Other naturalists and writers who have influenced me are Hanna Hichman, Henry Thoreau, Boyce Drummond, Barbara Bash, and Audrey Benedict. Seeing their work and understanding their reasons for studying the natural world help me to better define my own motives and philosophy. Over the years some of my favorite fiction writers have been: Beverly Cleary, Lewis Carroll,Scott Odell, Jean Craighead George, Gene Stratton Porter, Sharon Creech, Lois Lowry, Katherine Patterson, Avi, Willa Cather and Jane Austin.

Question4: Do you have any advice for other young scientists and writers?

Answer:  I would tell anyone pursuing the study of natural history to spend time quietly observing, and trust their senses to relate what they really experience --- allow themselves to enjoy what they see, and to see with more than their eyes. And for anyone who wants to be a writer my best advice is to READ.

Question5: What are you other interests? Do they influence your science? Your writing?

Answer:  I am deeply involved in art. My field journals inseparably connect my main interests: drawing, painting, natural history, and writing. When outdoors, I open all my senses, sketch or paint what I see, and take notes or write poetry about it. In my artwork I try to convey the beauty and fragile balance of the natural world.

I also enjoy traveling and learning about other cultures and learning Spanish. In the future I hope to visit places around the world, beginning with Nepal where I have many friends. I want to explore other natural areas and experience different cultures. My other interest include music, gardening, my dogs and ferret, history, and antique doll collecting.

Christopher

Poison-Dart Frogs: Nature's Touch-Me-Nots

hansonp

Grade 9
 Florida

Question1: How did you first become interested in science? In writing?

Answer:  My love for biology was ignited by my ninth grade biology teacher, Mr. Mark Schiffer. He encourages us to explore and expand our minds to the limit. I have always loved writing.

Question2: Where did you get the inspiration for your entry?

Answer:  While studying for the 1997 National Geography Bee, I came across these interesting Poison-Dart Frogs. Not only was I interested in the frog, but also its ecosystem.

Questions3: Who are your favorite scientists or writers? And
how have they affected your work?

Answer:  I enjoy learning about the words of Steven Jay Gould and his evolutionary philosophy. He has taught me to discover the unusual connections. Jack Cavanaugh is my favorite writer. He teaches me to look at the past to understand the future.

Question4: Do you have nay advice for other young scientists and writers?

Answer:  My advice is to never stop askingQuestions. Without askingQuestions, we would never progress.

Question5: What are your other interests? Do they influence your science? Your writing?

Answer:  European History, geometry, newspaper, poetry, international relations, anthropology, British Literature, psychology, water polo, golf, Latin, government and economics, geography, historical fiction, Model United Nations, community service, old movies, travel and Russian History are some of my interests which influence my writing.

G. Paul

Habitat Variety and Bird Abundance

johnsonp

Grade 12
 Georgia

Question1: How did you first become interested in science? In writing?

Answer:  Hiking along Rocky Creek near my house over ten years ago sparked my interest in nature. I began birding shortly after that when I saw Northern Ravens in North Carolina. During the past few years ornithology has been my main focus in science. The desire to describe what I see in the outdoors have inspired my writing.

Question2: Where did you get the inspiration for your entry?

Answer:  I was inspired to write Habitat Variety and Bird Abundance by the desire to know to what extent habitat change had on bird population. I picked Lake Wildwood as my study locations because I had already gathered numbers of bird species from 1995 to 1997. To write my essay I simply drew upon my raw data analyzed the results.

Question3: Who are your favorite scientists or writers? And how have they affected your work?

Answer:  The creative and captivating nature writings of Dr. Larry Guthrie have inspired my in my writing. His essays illustrate good qualities that can be learned from animals. The naturalist endeavors of Theodore Roosevelt have inspired by to have a broad knowledge base of wildlife. The artist and filed ornithologist Lars Jonsson has greatly influenced me. He advises to approach birds without preconceptions. Having a mind free of incorrect images is important in all areas of life, especially science. One of my favorite writers in Peter Dunne. He writes engaging and often comical essays on birding.

Question4: Do you have any advice for other young scientists and writers?

Answer:  My advice is to study your subject firsthand. Nothing can replace personal observation in science. Also, persistence in any endeavor is just a valuable as innate skill.

Question5: What are your other interests? Do they influence your science? Your writing?

Answer:  My main interests lie in the Fine Arts. I play the viola in the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra. Symphonic and classical music consists of order just as does science. I also enjoy art. Sketching animals and plants in the wild has been a way for me to collect information for scientific study. Drawing demands discipline and accuracy just a science demands precision. Another interest of mine is birding. Birding has been called "half sport, half science". Competitive species listing is a fun part of birding.

Emily 

Bees in the Ecosystem

lamondp

Grade 8
 Ohio
 

Question1: How did you first become interested in science? In writing?

Answer:  I have been interested in science for a long time. I like to take hikes in the woods with my family. Learning about why things are the way they are and how they work is of interest to me. I think writing is a fun way to express yourself.

Question2: Where did you get the inspiration for your entry?

Answer:  When I tried to think of an insect or animal which I consider a pest, the bee was the first thing that came to my mind. I knew bees are an important part of our ecosystem, but I wanted to find out for myself how important they really are. That is how I got my inspiration for my entry.

Questions3: Who are your favorite scientists or writers? And how have they affected your work?

Answer:  My science teacher, Mr. Loconti, has always encouraged and inspired me to excel and appreciate all types of sciences.

Questions4: Do you have any advice for other young scientists and writers?

Answer:  My advice for young scientists and writers is to get outside and explore the world. If you write about a topic that is unique and interesting to you, writing can be fun.

Question5: What are your other interests? Do they influence your science? Your writing?

Answer:  Some of my other interests are volleyball, softball and swimming. I also like to travel to see different places. I like to write about these experiences.

Rachel 

Bacteria

mockp

Grade 7
 Ohio

Question1: How did you first become interested in science? In writing?

Answer:  When I was six months old, my grandparents babysat me and took me to the Xavier University Biology Lab. They would let me look through the microscopes. They have been helping me along ever since.

Question2: Where did you get the inspiration for your entry?

Answer:  I developed an interest for bacteria after my class studied them in science. After that, I decided to do my paper on them.

Questions3: Who are your favorite scientists or writers? And
how have they affected your work?

Answer:  My grandparents (Anne and Charles Cusick) are definitely my favorite scientists. They are 2 retired biology teachers from Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH. My grandparents are always ready to explain anything, anytime, anywhere.

Questions4: Do you have any advice for other young scientists and writers?

Answer:  My advice is to keep studying and enjoy learning in daily life.

Question5: What are your other interests? Do they influence your science? Your writing?

Answer:  I enjoy acting, reading, singing, camping, and fishing, and being with my family. My work is not usually affected by my other activities, but somethings (like camping) do influence it.

Matthew 

The Invincible Cockroach

morellp

Grade 7
 New York
 

Question1: How did you first become interested in science? In writing?

Answer:  My teachers have given me the inspiration to enjoy all areas of science. From the time I was very young, my parents have always encouraged me to write to express my thoughts.

Question2: Where did you get the inspiration for your entry?

AnswerSince the entry called for writing about a creature disliked by people, I got my inspiration for writing about the cockroach from a television commercial where a person was terrified upon seeing a cockroach. I thought that the chemicals used to kill them are more harmful than the insect.

Question3: Who are your favorite scientists or writers? And how have they affected your work?

Answer:  I do not have a favorite scientist or writer because I feel all scientists and writers have contributed much to this world because they are an inspiration to everyone. I admire them for their hard work and dedication and for teaching us so much.

Question4: Do you have any advice for other young scientists and writers?

Answer:  Read as much as you can and write about things you like. Use your first draft to collect your ideas and then rewrite your words until you are satisfied with the finished product. Let others review your work to learn how they feel.

Question5: What are your other interests? Do they influence your science? Your writing?

Answer:  I enjoy reading which helps with my writing because it increases my vocabulary. Also, it's good to keep a journal to write down your thoughts and feelings. In my spare time I collect sports memorabilia because I enjoy sports, especially basketball and baseball.

Susan 

No One Sings the Praises of the Dreaded Jelly Fish

morrisp

Grade 10
 Maryland

Question1: How did you first become interested in science? In writing?

Answer:  My first inspiration for writing was when I was five years old, and I would sit in the car and spin tales of a mystical realm of my 'Golden Leaf". It was not until I was ten, however, that I found actually writing words on paper to be a hobby. As for science, I was always 'nature-girl' and have found constant excitement in the observation of animals, especially dolphins and other marine creatures.

Question2: Where did you get the inspiration for your entry?

Answer:  While planning my report in my head, I tried to think of the one animal that no one would ever attempt to defend. I knew sharks, bats and snakes are constantly defended, and buzzards, slugs and bees I could see the purpose of. Then I thought of the graceful jellyfish I had seen at the Aquarium in Baltimore and it hit me. Not a single person dared to sing the praises of a jellyfish and so I was determined to do so.

Questions3: Who are your favorite scientists or writers? And how have they affected your work?

Answer:  Many wonderful writers have affected my style of writing. C. S. Lewis and Narnia are what first introduced me to reading, and David & Leigh Eddings sparked in me the desire to write, Marion Bradley and Tamara Pierces writing gave me courage to try this contest and to try to be published, and Raymond Fiest and Tolkien heavily influenced my style. My favorite writer, however is Brian Jacques from my childhood favorite Redwall. When he signed my book, he call me a 'pal".

Questions4: Do you have any advice for other young scientists and writers?

Answer:  As both a scientist and a writer, don't give up. If you fail once, do as the saying provides and jump back on that horse. Enjoy what you do, and never do it to the point where you aren't having fun. After all, what is the point of life if you aren't enjoying yourself?

Question5: What are your other interests? Do they influence your science? Your writing?

Answer:  I love an adventure, every thing there is to do I'll try once, if not again, and I read almost constantly. My adventures range from camping in Yellow Stone to breaking boards in Tae Kwon Do, and each unique event give me new insight on this world and the people in it. Each sight I see serves only to further provoke my curiosity. My pen visits records each of my adventures.

Shep  

The Slimy, Yet Special Slug

nickelp

Grade 10
 Maryland
 

Question1: How did you first become interested in science? In writing?

Answer:  I've always been interested in science and writing. I can remember writing stories at a very young age. In school, science was always intriguing. I really became interested with animals in science in 6th grade when we did a unit on bluebirds and their place in our ecosystem.

Question2: Where did you get the inspiration for your entry?

Answer:  When I read the directions to the essay contest about and "undesirable organism" I immediately thought of the slug. People around me always commented on the repulsiveness of the slug and I was very interested to find out its importance.

Question3: Who are your favorite scientists or writers? And how have they affected your work?

Answer:  I really do not have any favorite scientists or writers. However, all writers that I've read or scientists I've heard of probably affect me in some way.

Question4: Do you have any advice for other young scientists and writers?

Answer:  Always ask "Why?" and investigate yourQuestions. Before my research on the slug, I assumed the organism was undesirable/disgusting; but after IQuestioned and investigated I discovered its importance.

Question5: What are your other interests? Do they influence your science? Your writing?

Answer:  I enjoy running RM cross country and track, and swimming on RM's swim team.

Katie  

Biodiversity in Arizona

perderp

Grade 8
 Arizona

Question1: How did you first become interested in science? In writing?

Answer:  I first became interested in science in the middle of sixth grade. My science teacher, Mrs. Magish, really made the material that we studying fun and absorbing, but, ant the same time, I was learning a lot. My interest continued through seventh grade, and finally, into eighth grade. Writing has always been an enjoyable activity for me. My father is a free-lance writer and he has also helped be develop my writing skills in many ways.

Question2: Where did you get the inspiration for your entry?

Answer:  The inspirations for my entry came from my appreciation of nature. The project that I choose to write about required that I walk through a natural area and turn over a rock or log and make observations on the vegetation and insects that were beneath the rock or log. I enjoy nature and this is how I choose to write about the entry that I did.

Question3: Who are your favorite scientists or writers? And how have they affected your work?

Answer:  Some scientists that I admire for their brilliance or contribution to mankind are Galileo, Isaac Newton, Thomas Edison and John Dalton. These men have not really affected my work or writing in any major way; they have just been scientists that I respect for all of their excellent work. My favorite authors include Charles Dickens and Baroness Orczy. I admire their style of writing, but have not really followed it or used it in any of my previous writing assignments. Rather, my English and literature teacher, as well as my parents, have really contributed to my writing in a very positive way.

Question4: Do you have any advice for other young scientists and writers?

Answer:  Some advice that I have for young writers is to develop your own style of writing early on. Creativity is probably the best thing to use when your write school assignments, letters, or essays. When you have done this, writing becomes and enjoyable activity. The more you work at and enjoy writing, then the better you will become. Young scientists should be able to think of science as a fun activity and, once your really like it, then you will excel at it. Both writing and science seem to be more enjoyable when you really respect them.

Question5: What are your other interests? Do they influence your science? Your writing?

Answer:  My favorite activities are volleyball, reading, and horse-back riding. I have been playing volleyball for two years and enjoy more every year. I have always loved reading books and that influenced and contributed to both my science and writing. I have been riding horses for four years and compete regularly in horse shows. Neither volleyball nor horse-back riding have contributed to my science or writing.

Paige  

The Feared, the Pest, the Cockroach

shell-sp

Grade 12
 Oregon

Question1: How did you first become interested in science? In writing?

Answer:  I am more interested in science than in writing. When I was nine years old Santa left me a microscope under the tree. Everyday after school, I went on expeditions collecting samples of leaves, bark, moss, anything which I could examine under my microscope. My interest in science has stayed with me. Writing is always easy if your topic is something you are interested in.

Question2: Where did you get the inspiration for your entry?

Answer:  Inspiration for my entry came from the experience I have had presenting cockroaches to the public as a zoo volunteer. I try to get each visitor to see the cockroach in a way they never have before. Sometimes it is very challenging, but often they leave appreciating the cockroach more than when they came. I was doing the same here, only this time it was in writing.

Question3: Who are your favorite scientists or writers? And how have they affected your work?

Answer:  My favorite author is Roald Dahl. It is a lot of fun to read his books, primarily because he is able to step back and look at the world differently-often from a completely different point of view. When I am talking to someone who disagrees with me, I need to remember that their point of view is based on their experiences, and I might be able to learn from them as well.

Question4: Do you have nay advice for other young scientists and writers?

Answer:  The first piece of advice that I have is: TRY. You can do anything you se your mind to. The second piece of advice is: VOLUNTEER. Everyone can make a difference. There are a lot of programs to choose from-especially if you are interested in science. Chances are you'll learn a lot, make new friends, and have a great time. So what are you waiting for?

Question5: What are your other interests? Do they influence your science? Your writing?

Answer:  I enjoy being around little kids. My approach to science is based on educating little kids. I have been able to incorporate my art and theater skills into my approach to teaching about science.

Kristel  

Nature's Slimy Friends

zachowp

Grade 11
 Washington
 

Question1: How did you first become interested in science? In writing?

Answer:  I have been interested in both science and writing ever since I can remember. I love to know why and how things work-hence my love for science and writing is the best way for me to communicate and I also enjoy it.

Question2: Where did you get the inspiration for your entry?

Answer:  I live in Washington State and am forever confronted with slugs outside. They live in my dog's food dish and I always see one whenever I go hiking. This essay gave me the chance to find out why slugs exist (other than to gross humans out) and to see the world from a slug's perspective.

Questions3: Who are your favorite scientists or writers? And how have they affected your work?

Answer:  I don't have any favorite scientist or writers. I like to read on a variety of subjects by many different writers. This way I'm exposed to several ideas and writing styles to see which suits me best.

Questions4: Do you have any advice for other young scientists and writers?

Answer:  Young scientist: find a subject that interests you (don't worry if anyone else cares about it) and learn all you can about it; this way you can find a way to get others interested in it, too. Young writers: write the way you want to and don't conform to other's writing styles. Make your writing fun to read so the reader won't be able to stop reading.

Question5: What are your other interests? Do they influence your science? Your writing?

Answer:  My other interests influence my science and writing by teaching me to think in different situations and to gather my own opinion. I'm involved with church where I examine and think about the Bible. I play soccer which makes me think on my feet about positioning and ball placement. And of course I like to read and in this way learn about other points of view.