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2 Greenwich students honored in Regeneron Science Talent Search

January 9, 2019

GREENWICH — Two students representing Greenwich schools have been named scholars in a prestigious science and math competition, and each received an award of $2,000.

Bennett Hawley, of Greenwich High School, was honored for his research into landfill pollution, and Anisha Laumas, of Greenwich Academy, received recognition for her research into leukemia. They were among the 300 high school seniors selected from nearly 2,000 students to become scholars in the Regeneron Science Talent Search. The announcement was made Wednesday.

Environmental science has always been Hawley’s passion, said GHS science teacher Andy Bramante. Regeneron has picked between one and seven of Bramante’s students annually since he started teaching more than a decade ago.

For his experiment, Hawley demonstrated how a gut bacteria in the common wax worm eats polystyrene and aluminum, and in large quantities, could reduce the amount of these long-lasting pollutants in landfills.

Before this project, he devised a buoy that generates energy from waves and demonstrated that trash dumped into sewage systems in Greenwich pollutes the Long Island Sound.

“To me, this is an awesome culmination of everything he has been doing,” Bramante said.

No other scientist has done a direct and sophisticated analysis of this topic, he said.

Hawley was also able to use an electron microscope that Tachi donated to Bramante in November. With the scope, he could even see chew marks.

Next, 40 of the 300 scholars will travel to Washington, D.C. in March, where they will interact with leading scientists, display their research and meet with members of Congress as they compete for $1.8 million in prizes. Winners will be announced on the last day of the trip.

“These students are the future leaders of tomorrow and are using innovative thinking to improve our world,” said Hala Mirza, senior vice president of corporate communications and citizenship at Regeneron in a statement.

Science Talent Search alumni have gone on to have world-changing careers in science and earn more than 100 of the most esteemed science and math honors, including 13 Nobel Prizes, 42 National Academy of Sciences members, 19 MacArthur Foundation fellows, 13 National Medals of Science and five Breakthrough Prize winners.

“These amazing young people have demonstrated an exceptional degree of hard work and passion for discovery,” said Maya Ajmera, president and CEO of Society for Science & the Public and publisher of Science News in a statement. “We are inspired by their brilliant thinking, and look forward to continue supporting them in their scientific endeavors.”

This year’s scholars represent 184 American and international high schools in 38 states, the District of Columbia and two countries. Each of the 300 scholars and their schools will be awarded $2,000.

For the complete list of scholars, visit the website for the Society for Science.

jo.kroeker@hearstmediact.com

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