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MPH student vies for international honors after winning local science fair

Olivia Sheppard with her award-winning presentation demonstrating her research which she conducted at Syracuse University.

Olivia Sheppard with her award-winning presentation demonstrating her research which she conducted at Syracuse University. Joe Genco

For her project, she hypothesized that adding nickel ions to a protein solution would cause the reaction with the quantum rods to emit a stronger light. After some trial and error in the lab, she discovered her hypothesis to be true. Nickel did in fact have a positive effect on the brightness of the light.

Though the particles themselves could only be observed under a powerful microscope, the light emitted was visible to the naked eye.

Though her findings may not be ground-breaking, she said that she was not aware of anyone else who had tried such an experiment, meaning her findings are an original contribution to the field.

This was her fifth year competing in the local competition, though just her second year in the senior age division.

Sheppard said her favorite subject in school this year is chemistry and she credits MPH for helping foster her interest in science.

“I love it there. There overall environment has helped me excel in science,” she said.

Since she is only a sophomore, Sheppard said she hasn’t started looking at colleges yet, though she says she definitely is interested in studying science in college and has considered a career as a research scientist.

For now, she is focused on preparing for the international competition in May, where she could perhaps add some more honors to her already impressive resume.

Joe Genco is the editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at editor@skaneatelespress.com.

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