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Wellington Whiz Kid Competes In Top Science Talent Search

Stefan Wan

A South Florida high school student is one of 40 finalists competing in a talent search to find the most promising young scientists in the United States.
Stefan Wan, a senior at Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts in West Palm Beach,  thought he was getting passed up for the 2017 Regeneron Science Talent Search. When they notified the finalists on Jan. 23, he waited all day for the call that never came. The 17 year-old started to texting his dad with the news that he didn’t make it.

“Right while I was doing that, I was notified of my finalist status,” said Wan, of Wellington. “I did an unhealthy amount of jumping that day.”

The contest recognizes the best scientific minds in American high schools. Students design engineering solutions that address the world's most urgent challenges.

Wan focused on an issue close to home: phosphorus pollution.

“Phosphorus in water is a really big problem in South Florida,” said Wan. “And it causes those algae blooms -- like we had the one we had this past summer. So I created a material that can remove phosphorus from water and recycle it as fertilizer.”

Wan is competing in Washington D.C. for a grand prize of $250,000. The winners will be announced at an awards gala Tuesday.