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8th Grade Girls Win Big at White House Science Fair

When eighth-graders Anika Patel and Angela Riggins found out they won a 2010 ExploraVision Award, their all-girls school in Bellevue, Wash., erupted into cheers. But the winners? They were mostly in shock.
 
For the last 19 years, the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Awards program has been used to encourage young students across the nation to excel in science and technology. Students work in teams of 2 to 4 to develop and research new forms of technology that could be used in the future.
 
Anika and Angela landed a first-place prize for their creation, the EPPIC or Ecological Paper Printing and Ink Collector. The pair wanted to find a way to help the environment and save trees. The result of all of their hard work is “a futuristic laser printer system that would extract used ink from paper by reducing the grapheme surface contact area, then reusing the collected ink and paper to make new prints,” the girls tell me.  The essential part of this invention is the new ink technology, which sticks to paper but also has the ability to release from it when necessary. 
 
The girls were inspired by geckos, which can stick and unstuck their feet, but were spurred on by the BP oil spill. A lot of printer ink uses oil, the pair explains.
 
On Oct. 18, Anika and Angela traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in the White House Science Fair, where they were honored by President Obama for their invention. Obama, they say, “was a genuinely nice guy. He seemed to actually care about our project and what we had to say.”
 
Though they did both receive a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond, they’re real reward comes in the comfort of knowing that they’re doing their part to save the environment. Bravo, girls!

BY LINDSAY SCARFF ON 10/26/2010 7:00:00 AM

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