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Young scientists win award

Island 7th-graders Angela Riggins and Anika Patel, who attend Forest Ridge private school, show a powerpoint presentation of their eco-friendly printer invention, which is a finalist in the national Toshiba ExploraVision competition, on March 12. - Elizabeth Celms/Mercer Island Reporter
Island 7th-graders Angela Riggins and Anika Patel, who attend Forest Ridge private school, show a powerpoint presentation of their eco-friendly printer invention, which is a finalist in the national Toshiba ExploraVision competition, on March 12.
— image credit: Elizabeth Celms/Mercer Island Reporter

Forest Ridge seventh-graders Anika Patel and Angela Riggins have developed scientific plans for a printer that reuses ink and paper. And the two teenagers, who live on Mercer Island, are being acknowledged for their eco-minded ingenuity on a national level.

Two weeks ago, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) listed Patel and Riggins as finalists in the 18th annual Toshiba ExploraVision Awards. They will now compete at the national level with a five-minute video presentation of their project.

The girls’ invention is called Ecological Paper Printing and Ink Collecting (EPPIC), which helps to reduce paper waste by “erasing” the ink on printed documents so that the paper can be reused again and again.

The science behind the invention, which the 13-year-old girls are keeping quiet about until they complete the national competition, required months of research and brainstorming.

“Research was a long process,” Patel said. “We started over the summer. We called printer, ink and paper companies and asked a lot of questions.”

Riggins added that choosing a project was not easy.

“We had a lot of ideas at first. We liked this idea because it saves from cutting down trees. It saves ink and paper,” she said.

Both Forest Ridge girls hope to enter the world of science after graduation. Patel wants to become a doctor like her parents, and Riggins hopes to delve into scientific research.

ExploraVision awards students who “develop ideas for beneficial future technologies.” It is the biggest science competition in the United States. This year’s contestants numbered 13,947, submitting 4,550 team entries.

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