Recently, a high school student from Houston took home a prestigious science fair medal from a field of contestants from throughout the world. Manvitha Katta took the top prize in this year’s Taiwanese International Science Fair (TISF), and was awarded both a medal and 5,000 Taiwanese Dollars.
Manvitha was one of just two students who represented the competition for the United States. The science fair, which was held by the National Taiwan Science Education Center (NTSEC), invited more than 50 international students from 21 different countries, including Canada, Russia, Japan, Italy, India, Switzerland, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore and many others to participate in a week-long competition in Taipei, which ran from January 21-27.
Manvitha’s winning project submitted to the competition was entitled, “Antimicrobial and Heavy Metal Sequestration Capacities of Graphene Polymer Nanofilms,” and featured a “synthesis of nano particle coated filters made from a form of carbon, grapheme and a polymer, PVK that could remove heavy metal and bacteria from wastewater,” according to a news release.
Of course, Manvitha’s opportunity to represent the United States wasn’t easy for her to achieve: the process for being named as a finalist involved several levels of competition. Prior to being named a finalist, she first won the Grand Award at the Science and Engineering Fair of Houston (SEFH) — a regional event that paved the way for her to have the chance to participate in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Phoenix, Arizona, which is considered the largest and most prestigious science fair worldwide. Once her project was submitted to the ISEF, the K.T. Li Foundation then chose Ms. Katta’s project as one of just 2 science projects among hundreds of other projects from American students to represent the United States at TISF.
Manvitha is not new to attending prestigious science fairs and taking home awards. In addition to TISF, she has also attended ISEF, SEFH, and ISWEEEP (the International Sustainable World Energy Engineering Environment Project Olympiad). She currently enrolled in the Houston Pre-Medical Program, and plans on pursuing her doctoral degree from Baylor College of Medicine, with a focus on pursuing a research career in global health and clean water.