“I first found out about the online contest through my teacher, Ms Stoddard, who passed the information on to my Science teacher to give me. Ms Rasher, the parent liaison at Southeastern, helped me summarize my project into a 100 word short summary which I then I submitted it to the contest. I forgot about it, and then in July, Popular Science magazine called my house to tell me I had won the grand prize for the high school section of the Science Fair.” In addition to her photo appearing in Popular Science, Emily won $1,000 and an article about her project on the Delta Faucet website at http://www.deltafaucet.com/inspiredliving/article/best-and-brightest-popular-science-science-fair-winners/.
The mission, according to deltafaucet.com, was to “dream up an experiment to save the planet.” After running tests comparing tap water to various brands of bottled water, Emily found that “many of the bottled waters contained chlorine levels that surpassed EPA levels, but that was not the case with the local tap water.” Emily won because “she offered hard facts while raising awareness”. According to Bob Rodenbeck of Delta, Emily “described bottled water’s environmental costs, from production to transportation. It’s wonderful to think that if people got educated, maybe they’d only buy it when they needed it.”
Emily’s winning essay reads as follows: “Water is fundamental to our survival, but American tap water, the safest in the world, is vastly undervalued. Bottled water is incorrectly perceived to be cleaner than tap water, but when I compared and contrasted the two, it became apparent that bottled water is thousands of times more expensive, yet no better than tap water. Bottled water also causes massive environmental impact and unnecessary waste. The EPA has strictly enforced rules regarding tap water but bottled water is laxly regulated by the FDA, and my experiment clearly demonstrated that my hypothesis was correct and is supported by this conclusion.”
A well rounded student, Miss MacDonald also holds state level achievements in volleyball and with the Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School’s Envirothon team. She is a Venture Scout (a co-ed branch of Boy Scouts) in Crew 95, Sharon, Massachusetts.
Where does Emily go from here? “I’m struggling to decide” she said. “There’s nothing more to do on a Science Fair level, but after high school wraps up, there’s more to do on an activism level. I hope to attend a 4-year college majoring in sustainable studies, a worthwhile cause and a field that’s not going away soon. Afterwards, I would like to volunteer in the Peace Corp”, Emily added.
Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School is a public 9-12 vocational high school located in South Easton, Massachusetts, serving approximately 1,277 students from the city of Brockton and the towns of East Bridgewater, Easton, Foxborough, Mansfield, Norton, Sharon, Stoughton, and West Bridgewater.