Beaufort News

Hilton Head eighth-grader recognized at national science competition

A Hilton Head Island middle school student was honored earlier this month in a national science competition in Washington, D.C.

Will White, 13, an eighth-grader at Hilton Head Preparatory School, was among 30 national finalists for his project that examined whether planting a salt-marsh plant called salicornia with crops would help the crops survive in salty conditions. The Broadcom Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars competition was sponsored by the Society for Science & the Public.

His school will receive a $1,000 donation from Broadcom Corp. because he was a finalist. The finalists and their teachers each will have an asteroid named after them through the Ceres Connection program, which names minor planets discovered by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research Program.

"These Broadcom MASTERS demonstrate the potential of our youth to succeed," said Elizabeth Marincola, the society's president. "They exemplify what people of any age can do if given the right encouragement, direction and support."

The finalists were treated to tours of historic sites and organizations that celebrate science, technology, engineering and mathematics, according to Broadcom Corp. spokeswoman Jennifer Baumgartner. They visited the White House to meet John Holdren, the president's adviser for science and technology, along with other officials from the Office of Science and Technology Policy before the evening's award ceremony.

White said he liked working together with other science students while in Washington, and his own project helped him realize his passion.

"I figured out what I want to be when I grow up," he said. "I want to be a botanist, and I really love plants."

The top award and $25,000 went to 15-year-old Daniel Feeny of Woodside, Calif., for his project on wave forces in the intertidal zone on a beach in California.