"Fort Polk is vital to the area. We hope to unite
the installation and the surrounding communities
to care for its soldiers and their families. It's our
-Michael Reese, Fort Polk Progress President
Robert Rose Jr. and Austin Young were selected to attend the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in California May 11-15, 2014.
Each year, the ISEF hosts students from around the world to demonstrate projects related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Students present innovative, original, and advanced projects at the fair each year, all vying for placement in their divisions, with their eyes on the prize of 1st place overall. Rose and Young competed in the Engineering Biochemical Division for over $4 million in awards against more than 1,600 students from 70 countries, regions, and territories from around the world.
“I don’t think it really sunk in how prestigious an opportunity this was until (our science teacher) Ms. Evans told us how many students from our school have been in the past,” said Rose, after discovering he and Young had been selected. “I’m very honored to represent Leesville High School and the state of Louisiana with this opportunity.”
Rose and Young’s project, a scrubber of sorts, is designed to decrease pollutants in the environment and help industrial plants to become more profitable.
Although Rose and Young did not place during the ISEF last month in California, Rose and Young say they are inspired to continue research on their project and are striving for the invitation to attend the fair next year, during their senior year at Leesville High School.
'Rob and Austin are more inspired now than before the trip,' said Donell Evans, Leesville High School's science teacher and a huge motivator for the students. 'The students met Nobel Peace Prize winner Martin Chalfie and listened to interviews with multiple other recipients. A new fire has been sparked with this project and the students are committed to further research and development.'
Rose and Young will continue project advancement with professors at McNeese State University, they said.
'Prior to the science fair we met with Dr. Darbeau at McNeese State University. He told us our project has much potential and is some of the best work he has seen,' said Rose. 'The ISEF was well organized, very professional, and a world-class experience that has benefited me astronomically. We met kids from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Austria, Romania, Azerbaijan, South Korea, China, and several other countries.'
'Rob took selfies with almost everyone we met, and they loved that he wanted to take pictures with them,' said Austin. 'ISEF was a great experience for us and we now know what it is like to be in the International Science Fair. We plan to further our project over the summer by making a prototype and using a small scale smoke stack to test. We plan to come back stronger next year and yield results that could allow us to be invited and place at ISEF.'
Rose and Young are the fourth set of students from Leesville High School to present at the International Science and Engineering Fair in the past few years. Also recognized in 2014 for their efforts were Jesse St. Clergy and Josh Shelton who were invited to attend the ISEF as student observers for their invention, a glove with therapeutic uses. Clergy and Shelton are also working to improve their work for competition in 2015.