Kat Plaza ’20 and Evrim Ozcan ’20, seniors in Potomac's Science and Engineering Research Center (SERC) program, have been named Top 300 Scholars in the 79th Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and mathematics competition for high school seniors. This year, 1,993 students nationwide entered the competition. Scholars were chosen based on their exceptional research skills, commitment to academics, innovative thinking, and promise as scientists. Being selected as one of the top 300 is a significant honor.
Kat set out to study the effects of long- and short-term exposure of microplastics on coral species. She was mentored by Dr. Jessica Reichert, a professor of animal ecology and zoology at Justus-Liebig University in Gießen, Germany, where Kat spent several months doing research. She found that different coral species react in different ways to microplastics.
Evrim’s research focuses on whether oxidative stress – a condition in which there is an electron deficiency in the body – can be measured through sweat rather than through blood. He worked with Dr. Gregory Payne, a bioscience professor at the University of Maryland, to test his ideas. Ultimately, Evrim’s research showed that it is indeed possible to quantify the amount of oxidative stress in the body through sweat.
As a result of being named Top 300 Scholars, Evrim and Kat will each receive a $2,000 award. The Potomac School will also receive two $2,000 awards to be used in support of STEM-related activities. Later this month, the Regeneron Science Talent Search will name this year’s top 40 finalists, who will then compete in Washington, DC. We congratulate Evrim and Kat on their accomplishments and wish them continued success!