The top 10 finalists received $20,000 or more
WASHINGTON — Sara Volz gasped in amazement when she heard her name called. The 17-year-old finalist had just been named the $100,000 grand-prize winner at the March 12 awards gala of the 2013 Intel Science Talent Search.
A high school student from Colorado Springs, Colo., Volz rushed across a stage in the National Building Museum’s Great Hall. Decked out in a lavender satin dress, the teenager laughed and smiled as blue and white balloons rained down on the winners.
Volz’s project, an experiment to pump up algal oil levels for use in biofuel, began in her bedroom. The teenager grew algae in 40 glass flasks underneath her loft bed, and used an herbicide to kill ce