Tsering Shola is making waves with her hearing research.
In March, she won honors at two science fairs, which included an $80,000 scholarship and a spot at the prestigious Intel Science and Engineering Fair, known as ISEF, which runs from Sunday, May 14 to Friday, May 19.
Shola, a sophomore at Camas High School, won the Washington Regional Science Fair in early March, and then took first place in biomedical and health sciences at the state fair on April 1.
ISEF is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, according to its website.
Each year, approximately 1,800 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions and territories earn the chance to showcase their independent research and compete for $4 million in prizes.
Shola, 16, became intrigued by hearing loss research after being diagnosed with sensoral neural hearing loss as a young child.
She approached different departments at Oregon Health Science University until she connected with a volunteer position at the Hearing Research Center.
However, she never expected that her inquisitiveness would lead to ISEF.
“I am really excited for everything,” Shola said. “I will be meeting people from all over the world and it will be incredible to be in this environment. We can all bond over science.”
To prepare, Shola is polishing up her presentational skills.
“Lots of the judges are Nobel Laureates or prestigious scientists,” she said. “I need to be prepared for questions.”