Spotlights

Lauren Cooper

Lauren Cooper

What inspired you to join the Intel science fair?

I first went to the science fair in the eighth grade, when I did a project on sound cancelling.  I had a fun time, even though my project wasn’t very original.  The next year, I wanted to do the science fair again.  One of my teachers was able to connect me with a lab at OHSU, and from there I began doing real-world, original research as a lab assistant.  This year was the first year I was able to conduct my own successful research.

Have you done projects like these before?

Every year I have done a different project.  I went from studying noise cancelling to Glaucoma and Materials Engineering.  After this year’s project, I have decided that I want to continue doing research in Materials Science.

What is your project about this year?

This year, I designed a new procedure for creating inexpensive, superhydrophobic glass.  This could have a lot of applications, since glass is used nearly everywhere, and superhydrophobic glass has a number of useful properties.

What was the biggest challenge in your project?

There have been multiple instances throughout the process where I felt like my work hadn’t been producing any results.  If you’ve never experienced something like this before, it’s really depressing.

What was your favorite part about the process?

I love collaborating with scientists around Portland and meeting other high school students who also do research.  The international science fair was especially fun because I met people from everywhere around the world–I can now dance the salsa and make Israeli iced coffee.

How did you do in the science fair?

I won second place at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair!  Though they gave out three second place awards in my category, I was against 65 people, so I think it still counts.

Will this project influence possible future careers or areas of study?

Yes, I plan on continuing to study nanomaterials and surface interfaces in college.

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