On Jan. 4, senior Shivani Pandey was selected as one of the semifinalists in the Regeneron Science Talent Search. Pandey has proudly developed her own project and displayed her scientific talents through her work with this competition.
Pandey, an intern at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, entered the contest with the hopes of making a difference in aquatic environments. Pandey has conducted research on a bacteria resistant to a chemical called triclosan, which she proved to be harmful to aquatic life. She has found bacteria that is resistant and capable of degrading triclosan that can be placed in environments with triclosan to eliminate its destructive effects on aquatic life. Pandey expressed that her goal is to “use resistance bacteria for the better” to have a “positive impact by lessening triclosan in the environment.”
“I want to make sure that as little triclosan as possible escapes bacterial biodegradation and enters into the environment,” she said.
Pandey’s research is focused on using wastewater bacteria that degrades Triclosan to see which is the most effective. Her scientific research on Triclosan and its effects can be useful to make the process of bacterial degradation more sufficient.
“I am very excited about the possibilities of using my bacteria to improve bacterial degradation,” she said.
Pandey’s bacteria can make an impact on various aquatic environments. She explained that she had hoped to enter the contest since her late elementary school years but could not do so until her senior year of high school. She also conveyed that she was very honored to even make it as a semifinalist.
Pandey said, “It feels kind of surreal because back then I hoped I’d be at this point and now I am.”
The Regeneron Science Talent Search is the nation’s most prestigious science research competition for high school seniors. According to the official website, “Each scholar receives a $2,000 award from Regeneron with an additional $2,000 going to his or her school, resulting in $1.2 million in total scholar awards aimed at inspiring more young people to engage in science. The competition overall awards $3.1 million to provide the opportunities and resources that students need to become the next generation of inventors, entrepreneurs, and STEM leaders.”
Pandey hopes to become a finalist of the Regeneron Science Talent Search due to her love for research and attraction to this incredible experience. Finalists will be announced on Jan. 24.