Published Online: May 26, 2004
Published in Print: May 26, 2004, as Federal File

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Science of Security

Winning a national science fair—and possibly saving the nation from terrorists— is a twofer to be proud of.

And that’s what six high school students accomplished at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair this month.

They were winners of the first prizes sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security at the prestigious competition, held May 14 in Portland, Ore.

Founded in 2003, the agency joins the Department of the Interior, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and branches of the U.S. military as federal-government sponsors of awards, along with numerous corporate sponsors of the fair.

The Homeland Security prizes were for projects that contribute to the department’s mission: to prevent or mitigate the effects of catastrophic terrorism against the United States or its allies.

The competition invited entries on topics such as the malicious use of plant or animal pathogens to cause disease; new vaccines, antidotes, diagnostic methods, and therapies against biological- and chemical-warfare agents; and reduction of the nation’s vulnerability to chemical attacks on civilians.

Considered by a special panel of judges, the six winning projects addressed "visual object identification," "chaotic encryption," a new tool for the detection of radio waves, graph theory, epidemiology, and "bacteriophage suppression of bioterrorism agents."

The winners of the $20,000 scholarships were: Henny Admoni, 18, of Great Neck, N.Y.; Charles Harold Greenberg, 17, of Riviera Beach, Fla.; Mark Philip Croce, 17, of McLean, Va.; Allison Paige Berke, 15, of Sacramento, Calif.; Anna- Katrina Shedletsky, 17, of Brewster, N.Y.; and Karli E. Oberg, 16, of Pleasant View, Utah.

To be eligible for the Homeland Security Department’s awards, contestants must be U.S. citizens and agree to pursue college majors in science, math, engineering, or technology.

More than 1,200 students from 38 countries competed for $3 million in scholarships and prizes at the Intel science fair, which is separate from the Intel Science Talent Search.

—Andrew Trotter

Vol. 23, Issue 38, Page 21

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