n Virginia, the McLean Area Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) awarded Rose Rasty, a junior at George C. Marshall High School, the 2017 STEM Excellence Award at the AAUW Branch Annual Dinner, May 25. This year’s award recognized the work done by Ms. Rasty on the project, “Optimizing Oil Spill Remediation Using Ferrofluid and Algae.” Her work proposed a solution to cleaning up the environment after an oil spill.
A year ago, Ms. Rasty worked with a species of algae responsible for harmful algae blooms and came across recently published articles that described how algae could be used to break down hydrocarbons in oil. She also investigated the properties of ferrofluids that can extract oil with the use of a magnet, and was able to devise a method of combining these two extremely different remedies to apply them to cleaning up oil spills.
Ms. Rasty’s project finished in first place at Marshall High School’s Science Fair, and at the Fairfax County Regional Fair held in March, she was recognized as a Grand Prize nominee. Her work has been recognized by the MIT Club of Washington and the Stockholm Water Prize.