Polytechnic senior is science finalist

February 01, 2007|By Sara Neufeld | Sara Neufeld,Sun Reporter

Emma Call, a senior at Polytechnic Institute, has been named one of 40 finalists in the nation in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search competition.

Two other finalists are from Maryland, both from Montgomery Blair High School in Montgomery County: Brian Robert Lawrence of Kensington and Richard Matthew McCutchen of Rockville.

The finalists will travel in March to Washington, where their research will be judged and displayed at the National Academy of Sciences and they will meet with national leaders. The finalists will receive scholarships totaling $530,000, with the top winner receiving $100,000. Each finalist will also receive a new laptop computer.

The competition is frequently referred to as the "junior Nobel Prize." Six finalists in past competitions have gone on to win the Nobel Prize.

Poly has sent a student to the competition for each of the past two years, but Call is the school's first female finalist. She is enrolled in the Ingenuity Project, an accelerated math and science program for public school students in the city.

Nationally, this is the first time in the competition's 66-year history that there are just as many female finalists as males.

Call, a Mount Washington resident, was selected for a project called "Self-Assembling Three-Dimensional Microcontainers for Cell Encapsulation." She sought to apply micro-engineering techniques to create tiny metallic containers no larger than a speck of dust for use in medical applications. She envisions that the tiny containers might be used one day in cell-encapsulation therapy for treatment of various diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer's.

She performed her research at the Johns Hopkins University's chemical and biomolecular engineering department under the mentorship of professor David Gracias.

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