Amy Son, a Grade 12 student at Taejon Christian International School in Daejeon, won a Gold Medal award in the 2022 Samsung Humantech Paper competition. This 28th iteration received more than 2100 thesis submissions among 15 categories from university and high school students. Gold Medal awards went to only five high school students for the 2022 event – one in each submission category.
Titled, "Degradation of Persistent Organic Pollutants in Soil Using Tomato Infiltrated with Artificially-Evolved Endophytes," Ms. Son's original-research paper won the highest recognition in the category of Environment/Food/Hygiene.
Amy shared the inspiration for her research, "I have been interested in toxins called Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in the environment after first coming across the issue while volunteering at a local hospital. Last year, I started investigating the dangers of such toxins, discovering how they could act as endocrine disruptors and neurotoxins and how the chemicals could potentially adhere to microplastics to cause further damage. Building on my research, I attempted to develop a natural solution for the toxins this year by utilizing the symbiotic relationship between endophytes and plants. I was excited to find positive results that supported my hypothesis, and I entered the 28th Humantech Paper competition to share my findings."
Amy continued speaking about her involvement in the competition, saying, "Uncovering the results of my experiments were rewarding in itself, but winning this award made even the most tedious aspects of the process so much more meaningful. It was wonderful to be recognized by a larger community, as it further motivated me to develop and expand upon my work. Most importantly, I was proud to be able to present my accomplishment to everyone who had supported me along the way, including my parents, teachers, and friends."
"Being introduced to scientific research at school inspired me to inquire further into areas of interest beyond my classes. Having been provided with classroom experiences, I was confident to explore new areas independently. Throughout my work, I loved having so many amazing people in my school community support me, helping me learn from my mistakes and persevere despite failures."
Since grade 2, Amy has attended Taejon Christian International School, one of the oldest foreign schools in Korea. The school is a K-12 international school that teaches according to the IB curriculum framework. Visit the TCIS website for more inquiries.
Ms. Gail Smith, Secondary School Principal at TCIS, shared the following: "We are so very proud of Amy. While we teach science and technology at a very high level, we are not, strictly speaking, classified as a science and technology school. We believe in delivering education that is progressive, flexible, and student-centered. When we see someone like Amy, a highly-competent student who is passionate about science, being recognized for success in an event like this, we celebrate as a community of educators. We are all thrilled to see her abilities and education recognized in this way."
"This is Amy's second award now at the Humantech Paper competition, and we are very proud," says TCIS Head of School, Mr. Michael Moimoi. "It is one thing, as an educator, to see evidence of student learning by what they do in the classroom, but it is especially gratifying to see students take the initiative with their learning and engage in something they are passionate about and find that they can rise to challenges with such excellence. Amy exemplifies the TCIS motto of LEARN•LOVE•LEAD in so many ways, and we look forward to seeing how she continues to impact the world in her areas of interest."
Samsung Electronics established the Samsung Humantech Papers Award in 1994 to challenge creative young scientists to develop themselves and push the community of science and technology in their schools. The Samsung Humantech Papers thesis competition drives enthusiasm among the future science leaders in South Korea. For more inquiries of the contest, visit: humantech.samsung.com
Taejon Christian International School - 대전외국인학교