Vermont students present science research at national event

Published: Feb. 17, 2020 at 3:41 PM EST
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Four young women are back in Vermont after a national science conference this weekend. Their research earned them the chance to present in front of Nobel laureates! One of the students took our Cat Viglienzoni to the lab in St. Johnsbury where she fell in love with science.

Lian Snow didn't always like the idea of working in a lab. But two years ago, the 16-year-old was asked to be one of the pilot students at the Fairbanks Museum's new STEM lab. There she learned science was pretty cool!

"I was like, OMG, what is this heavenly world? And I just fell in love with science. It was amazing. It was the biggest turning point in my life so far," Snow said.

In the lab, she was able to start her own research, studying a type of microscopic worm. She chose to look at the impact of Prozac on its reproduction. After work at the lab in St. J and a summer intensive at the New Hampshire Academy of Science, her work was good enough to be selected for one of science's most prestigious conferences.

"I haven't really traveled so it was very, very exciting," Snow said. "And it was mind-blowing getting to meet all the big scientists."

She and three other young women from the Fairbanks lab were all chosen for the American Junior Academy of Science. They got to spend this past weekend in Seattle hearing famous speakers like Bill Gates, going behind the scenes at medical research labs and seeing cutting-edge factories firsthand.

"For these kids, they got to see the future and they might be working if they continue in science," said Bobby Farlice-Rubio of the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium.

Instructor Farlice-Rubio says having students like Snow choose and design their own experiments sets them up for success.

"Science literacy is no longer optional as far as I'm concerned," he said. "These kids also have the opportunity to get a head start on a career that could be their entire future. Most people don't get to do this kind of work until they're in undergraduate or even graduate school."

Snow says she wants to take her research further. And has a message for her peers who don't understand why this work is fun.

"Science can help us understand the world and who we are," she said. "So, I mean, why wouldn't you love it?"

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