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CTX student wins third-place award at international science and engineering fair

Posted: 8:51 AM, May 31, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-31 15:24:48-04

WACO, TX — A Midway ISD student won third place in an international science fair earlier this month for a project that aims to limit antibiotic resistance.

Sophie Kearney, a junior at Midway High School, created a computer program that determines the efficacy of an antibiotic against the bacterial species patients have. It also measures the potential for resistance between the drug and the bacterial species.

It gives doctors three different options for prescriptions. If patients are resistant or allergic to any of the antibiotics, the program lists other choices.

"Being able to regulate and standardize the prescription of antibiotics has an impactful implication for patients all over the world," Kearney said. "Making sure we are limiting the amount of redundant antibiotic prescriptions is a way to make sure patients are always getting the best potential care for them."

Her project was one of 91 in the microbiology category of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Arizona earlier this month. She received $1,000 after winning third place in her category at the competition.

Kearney's interest on this subject stemmed from her oldest sister developing resistance to an antibiotic when she had an infection.

"She is really excited that there is a program that exists like this. Maybe back when she was 7 and she was developing that antibiotic resistant, it may have not happened if there was a program like my program implemented at that hospital," said Kerney said.

Midway High School Advanced Placement Chemistry teacher Krystle Moos, who was the science fair sponsor, said Kearney qualified to go to the International fair at the regional competition.

"As a science fair sponsor, I could really see this project being put to use right now. Being put in a hospital, or assisted care facility, to help prevent the onset the multi-resistant bacteria from emerging," Moos said.

Kearney hopes to implement her program in a healthcare facility. She wants to compare the options given by the program to the prescriptions doctors are giving to patients.

Hospitals or assistant living care facility that would like to be part of Kearney's research, can contact Moos at krystle.moos@midwayisd.org.

According to Moos, other students from Midway ISD have sent projects that have placed at International Science Engineering Fair.

She hopes the number of students submitting projects in the regional science fair in February increases.

Students from other Waco schools also qualified to send projects to the international fair, including sophomores Caleb Chakmakjian and Wyatt Tyson from Live Oak Classical School. Their project was called Hybrid Rocket Engine.