2013 DuPont Challenge Science Essay Winners Announced

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Students Show Enthusiastic Response to New Essay Categories

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The DuPont Challenge Science essay competition is a great way to showcase the passion and curiosity of our future scientists.

DuPont today congratulated the grand prize winners, first runners-up, finalists and honorable mentions of The 2013 DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition selected from more than 9,000 entries. In its 27th year, The DuPont Challenge encourages students to think critically about potential science and engineering-based solutions to important global challenges such as research focus areas of feeding the world, building a secure energy future and protecting people and the environment.

“The DuPont Challenge Science essay competition is a great way to showcase the passion and curiosity of our future scientists,” said DuPont Chair and CEO Ellen Kullman. “Meeting the demands of a growing population will require a creative and collaborative scientific effort, and it is inspiring to see so many young people taking these issues to heart.”

In the senior division (grades 10-12) of The 2013 DuPont Challenge, the grand prize winner is Hugo Yen, Troy High School, Fullerton, Calif. His essay is titled, “Flavonoids: The Avengers of Rice Bacterial Blight,” and his sponsoring teacher is Nga Ngo. Yen began researching his topic at the University of California, Davis. “With our growing global population,” Yen says, “it is more important than ever to find new ways of ensuring that enough food is able to reach the mouths of countless millions suffering from hunger and starvation.”

The senior division first runner-up is Laura Herman, Pine Crest School, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Her essay is titled, “Why Q Is Purple: Synesthetic Association Patterns,” and her sponsoring teacher is Jennifer Gordinier.

The two senior division finalists are Ardavan Farahvash, Monta Vista High School, Cupertino, Calif., with the essay “Graphene Ultracapacitors: Faster, Smaller, Better,” and Kavita Gupta as the sponsoring teacher; and Nikhil Bhattasali, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, Va., with the essay “Grain by Grain: Raising Output in Rice Farming,” and Michael Walker as the sponsoring teacher.

The junior division (grades 7-9) grand prize winner is Jacob Yoshitake, Marshall Middle School, San Diego, Calif. His essay is titled, “Excellent, Efficient and Economical Solar Tracking,” and his sponsoring teacher is Elaine Gillum. “Hydrocarbon fuel is finite and produces pollution,” Yoshitake explains. “Solar power is clean, free and unlimited.” This inspired him to design an inexpensive solar tracker for solar panels.

The junior division first runner-up is Gaurav Garg, Beckendorff Junior High School, Katy, Texas. His essay is titled, “I Wish My Dad Got a Tattoo,” and his sponsoring teacher is Angela Weeks.

The two junior division finalists are Jonathan Bradway, Decatur Central High School, Indianapolis, Ind., with the essay “Laser Landings,” and Sally Nichols as the sponsoring teacher; and Robert Kutz, Clovis North High School, Fresno, Calif., with the essay, “Discovering Nature’s Secrets,” and Jonathan Bowns as the sponsoring teacher.

The DuPont Challenge offers more than $100,000 in total prizes and awards. In each division, the grand prize winner receives a $5,000 U.S. Savings Bond, the first runner-up receives a $3,000 U.S. Savings Bond, and the two finalists each receive a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond. These top four winners in each division receive reference materials for their school from Britannica Digital Learning, as well as school subscriptions to online resource collections from NBC Learn. The grand prize winners and first runners-up also receive an expenses-paid awards trip to The Walt Disney World® Resort and the NASA Kennedy Space Center, accompanied by a parent and their sponsoring teacher. Additionally, each sponsoring science teacher of the top four winners in each division receives an expenses-paid trip to the 2014 NSTA National Conference.

The emphasis on recognizing teachers began when The DuPont Challenge was created in 1986, in honor of heroic men and women lost in the Challenger space shuttle disaster of that year. The crew included Ellison S. Onizuka, Greg Jarvis, Judy Resnik, Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ron McNair, and Sharon Christa McAuliffe, who was the first teacher in space. The DuPont Challenge continues to draw inspiration from these individuals, as well as all who work to improve the world through scientific and technological discovery.

The 2013 DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition is sponsored by DuPont in collaboration with A+ Media, Britannica Digital Learning, NASA, NBC Learn, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), Turnitin, and The Walt Disney World® Resort.

DuPont (NYSE: DD) has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802. The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NGOs, and thought leaders we can help find solutions to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, and protecting life and the environment. For additional information about DuPont and its commitment to inclusive innovation, please visit http://www.dupont.com.

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Walt Disney World® is a registered trademark of Walt Disney Company.

Photo Captions

Student winners of The 2013 DuPont Challenge: (L-R) Laura Herman, Gaurav Garg, Hugo Yen, Jacob Yoshitake

Student winners with sponsoring teachers and special guests: (L-R) Kelvin Manning (Associate Director of Business Operations, Kennedy Space Center), Angela Weeks, Gaurav Garg, Elaine Gillum, Jacob Yoshitake, Laura Herman, Jennifer Gordinier, Hugo Yen, Nga Ngo, Marc Doyle (Global Marketing and Product Director, DuPont Protection Technologies)

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