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Richland, Hanford High School Students Earn Awards At International Science Fair

Richland High School sophomore Zoe Gotthold and Hanford High School freshman Nikhita Bontha are award-winning international scientists after presenting their work at the recent Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Phoenix.

Zoe won one of three $3,000 first-place prizes in the environmental engineering category at the fair for her research on techniques for the treatment of oil spills.

She was invited to present her work at ISEF after receiving the Grand Champion prize at the Mid-Columbia Regional Science Fair.

Nikhita earned a $500 fourth-place award for her work on improving fuel cells. She previously took the top prize at the Washington State Science & Engineering Fair this spring, entitling her to compete at ISEF. She also won a $500 prize from the Patent & Trademark Office Society.

More than 1,800 students in Grades 9-12 annually compete at ISEF, the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. All finalists are selected by an affiliated, local competition and receive an all-expenses-paid trip to ISEF. At the competition, finalists are judged by hundreds of science, engineering and industry professionals who have a Ph.D. or equivalent (six years of related professional experience) or are senior graduate students with doctoral-level research experience.