Emmanuel Christian Academy freshman Alison Bachowski’s curiosity about the color of evergreens along the highway has led her to an international science competition.
The 15-year-old Springfield girl
is the first student at her school to qualify for the competition.
Bachowski recently finished second in the environmental science category of Ohio’s Intel International Science Engineering Fair. That qualified Bachowski for a free trip to Phoenix, Ariz., May 8-13 to compete the ISEF’s international competition with 1,800 students from throughout the world.
“I tested levels of vitamin C in evergreen trees along the highway and compared them to those in the forest, because I felt evergreen trees by the highway were slowly being killed by car exhausts,” said Bachowski.
Vitamin C protects trees during the process of photosynthesis. Without the proper amount of the vitamin, a tree will slowly die. Results showed that the trees along the highway had 20 percent less vitamin C compared to those in the forest.
Her concern was far-reaching.
“If it is effecting trees and slowly killing them, how is it affecting people who are living around the highways and breathing those fumes?” said Bachowski.
She decided on the project in part because there wasn’t a lot of research out there about vitamin C levels in trees. The next step will be to take samples from a wider range of trees in Ohio, to prove it is not just a problem in Clark County.
“The end goal would be to bring better awareness to people about the possible dangers,” said Bachowski, who plans to study to be a medical oncologist. “In people, it could lead to cancer and other complications.”
Jimmelyn Scoby, who has been Bachowski‘s science teacher for three years, is not surprised by her success.
“This is something she is passionate about,“” said Scoby. “I find that when students are passionate about something, they usually excel at it.
“It is just a tremendous honor, not only for Alison and her family, but for the school,” she continued. “It just shows that despite all the negative things you hear, there are students who are out there who are making a difference.”
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