Camas High School student Meghal Sheth has compiled an impressive list of academic accomplishments in the last several months.
State Science Fair award winner. A spot at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. A $1,000 prize from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Now, she’s won a Washington State Academy of Sciences Award. This qualifies Sheth, a student in the CHS Math, Science and Technology magnet program, to participate in the American Junior Academy of Sciences convention in Chicago. Only three students in Washington state were selected.
Sheth’s study, using zebrafish, found that Bisphenol A, a common molecule used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, may lead to hearing loss in humans.
“I applied for the award in July and knew that the other students applying were talented researchers,” Sheth said. “I sort of just told myself to try my best and put my heart into my essay and see what happens.”
Sheth was in New Jersey last week when she found out about the award.
“It was such a shock,” the CHS junior said. “I felt very honored that the award committee chose me. In all honesty, I ran around my dad’s friend’s house screaming. It felt really amazing because I knew I was competing against some very intelligent and talented students and just the idea that they liked my research and my essay meant a lot to me.”
The AJAS is America’s only honor research society for high school scientists and membership is by invitation only.
Each state academy of science chooses premier high school scientists from their state to nominate as AJAS delegates.
Last year, Sophie Shoemaker, who is also an incoming CHS junior and qualifier for ISEF, won the award.
“This being the second year in a row that a Camas High School student has won this award says a lot about the talent and determination that our students have, in particular these two young ladies,” said Kim Newman, magnet program research project coordinator. “As a young lady who is passionate about science, this opportunity will give Meghal a platform to inspire other young people to pursue their scientific curiosities.”
Sheth will have the opportunity to present her project at the WSAS symposium on Thursday, Sept. 12. The national convention takes place Feb. 13-17.
She will receive her award at the state convention, but isn’t sure what the format will be like at the national event.
“I’m assuming we will not only present our research, but also do fun things like explore Chicago,” Sheth said.
As a middle school student, she never thought she’d be attending prestigious conventions in her near future.
“Much thanks goes to my parents for being a lot of the inspiration for my essay and the same goes for my middle school and high school magnet teachers,” Sheth said. “The biggest thanks would go to Dr. Allison Coffin (mentor from WSU Vancouver) just because none of this research would’ve ever happened without her mentoring.
The last thing I have to say is that I’m so grateful for this award. I never thought I would have the opportunities to go to all these science fairs and conventions when I was younger, and it has been such a blessing.”