Los Alamos High School Senior Named Top Scholar

Karin Ebey

LAPS News:

Karin Ebey, a senior at Los Alamos High School, has been named one of the top 300 scholars in the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2021, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.

“I am really excited to be named one of the top 300 finalists,” Ebey said.

Her project title is Climate Change on Crocodilians: Modeling the Effects of Variations in Rainfall on Crocodilians and Their Ecosystems. On Jan. 21, 40 of the 300 scholars will be named Regeneron Science Talent Search finalists and compete for more than $1.8 million in awards provided by Regeneron.

“I have loved crocodilians since age five and have wanted to be a conservationist since age six when I learned that my favorite species, the gharial, is critically endangered,” Ebey said. “Since my parents refused to send me to India to save the gharial and due to the lack of crocodilians in New Mexico, in ninth grade, I started using simulations to explore crocodilian population dynamics to learn about conservation. In my project, I created a simulation of a crocodilian population within a complex ecosystem and used my simulation to explore the effects of variations in rainfall on crocodilians. The results can help predict how crocodilian populations will respond to climate change and can aid in designing conservation programs.”

LAHS Principal Carter Payne said, “We are so pleased to see Karin’s hard work and creative thinking acknowledged as part of such a prestigious group of other awardees. LAHS is proud!”

Ebey will be awarded $2,000. In addition, LAHS also will receive $2,000 for science education, which Ebey has requested be used to purchase at-home chemistry lab kits.

“I requested that the funding be used to purchase at-home chemistry lab kits because chemistry was my favorite class, especially the labs, and with remote learning it is much harder to do hands-on lab activities,” she said. “The hardest part of remote learning for me has been not getting to perform science labs at school because they really help me learn the material and I want all students to get a chance to successfully learn and enjoy chemistry.”

The Regeneron Science Talent Search scholars were selected from 1,760 applications received from 611 high schools across 45 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and 10 countries. Scholars were chosen based on their exceptional research skills, commitment to academics, innovative thinking and promise as scientists.

The full list of scholars can be viewed here: https://www.societyforscience.org/regeneron-sts/2021-scholars/

2020 LAHS graduate Lillian Peterson placed first in last year’s Regeneron Science Talent Search and was awarded the top prize of $250,000.

“I decided to enter because I have really enjoyed conducting science fair projects all through high school and wanted to be part of this long-standing science competition,” Ebey said. “I am very grateful to my family, my amazing research mentor Dr. Rosalyn Rael, and my teachers, especially Ms. Mitchell and Ms. Ombelli, for helping me along the way.”

Ebey has participated in Science Fair, Band and Dance through Dance Arts Los Alamos (DALA). She is planning to attend college next fall and major in biology and chemistry.

“I hope to become a crocodilian scientist and conservationist,” she said.

The Regeneron Science Talent Search, a program of Society for Science since 1942, is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. Each year, nearly 2,000 student entrants submit original research in critically important scientific fields of study and are judged by leading experts in their fields. Unique among high school competitions in the U.S. and around the world, the Regeneron Science Talent Search focuses on identifying, inspiring and engaging the nation’s most promising young scientists who are creating the ideas that could solve society’s most urgent challenges.

Learn more at https://www.societyforscience.org/regeneron-sts/.