Lancer sophomores win bronze medal at International Science Fair


Chris Olinger

Reilly Olinger (’18) and Laurel Cheng (’18) stand in front in front of the I-SWEEP banner in Texas.

Payal Ahuja, Reporter

Brookfield Central’s very own Laurel Chen (’18) and Reilly Olinger (’18) recently won a bronze medal in the category of environmental management and pollution at the International Sustainable World (Energy, Engineering, and Environment) Project (I-SWEEEP) science competition. Their project entitled “How Green is ‘Green’?’ Assessing The Effects of Detergent Toxicity on the Environment,” showcased how eco-friendly detergents compared to standard ones when introduced into suburban ecosystems. Chen and Olinger did extensive research on this topic and even wrote a 30-page research paper that summarized their results.

The pair qualified for the ninth annual I-SWEEEP in Texas by placing third at the Badger State Science and Engineering Fair, which enabled them to compete against 385 projects from 62 distinguished countries. On the topic of the fair itself, Chen shared excitedly, “The actual fair was absolutely phenomenal — definitely felt like a one in a life time event. Everyone was so nice and willing to be friends with you, as well as inspire us with their own projects that they put a lot of time in.” Olinger agreed and said, “The fair was a really great experience! Prior to arriving we were both really nervous that we would look foolish during our project judging or that the fellow fair goers would be overly critical. However, that was really not the case. The judges were very intelligent people who gave us a lot of good advice and encouragement.”

They both also emphasized the inspiration that the other teams provided with projects such as an app relating to aiding surgical patients, research on protective role of IL-17A by gamma delta T cells in alcohol-induced liver disease, and a machine that taught Braille to the visually impaired.

“Meeting people from all over the world is exciting and it’s the best way to build connections with people who share the same passion of science as you (hopefully) also have. As cliché as this sounds, it is mesmerizing to find that all participants are not alone in their commitment to find solutions to the globe’s sustainability problems.” Chen said.

Olinger added, “We’ve been really amazed by how much our hard work has paid off from just one experiment and would definitely encourage people to visit our school science fair club next year and check it out. It’s a really rewarding experience and we wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Congratulations to Laurel Chen and Reilly Olinger for their outstanding achievement! You’ve made us Lancers proud!