Monica Chang made the best pitch at the Oregon Bioscience Showcase at the OMSI Emperical Theater Monday.
The 15-year-old from Camas beat nine other researchers from Oregon and Washington. She brought home a $400 iPad mini.
“It was a wonderful experience, albeit stressful,” Chang said. “I am extremely grateful to everyone in the Sorg Lab at WSUV, the Magnet Program at CHS, and my family. I definitely would not be able to do any of this without all of them.”
Chang pitched her project, titled “A Closer Look at Memory: The Effect of Diurnal Rhythms on Perineuronal Nets,” to more than 200 bioscience professionals in the audience.
“I’ve always loved presenting and giving pitches,” she said. “I think one of the most exciting parts about research is being able to share what you’ve been doing and be able to connect with a lot of people and show them why it’s important to you and why it’s important in general.”
Chang had three minutes to highlight her research and bring the most important details to life.
“We all know that sleep is important for physical bodies, but it’s actually really important for our memory and our brains, as well,” she said. “My project is looking at the brain structures that are involved with sleep and memory. Even though we spent a third of our lives sleeping, we don’t really know what’s happening.”
Chang experiences the effects of sleep and memory every single day as a busy high school student.
“I guess it is kind of ironic,” she said. “I’m studying how sleep is important for memory consolidation, yet I’m probably not getting enough sleep.”