Canterbury student named semifinalist in national competition
A student at Canterbury School in Fort Myers was recently named semifinalist in a national competition for students who carry out scientific research.
Sarah-Marie Hopf, a Cape Coral resident and senior at Canterbury, submitted a research project to reduce the risks of contracting HBoV, a respiratory infection.
First discovered in 2005, the Human Bocavirus or HBoV has been recognized across the world. According to Pediatric Health, most infected children are younger than 24 months and symptoms range from a simple cough or fever to pneumonia or bronchitis.
Her research was completed alongside professors in the Student Science Training Program, a seven-week precollegiate training at the University of Florida. The goal of the project was to find a way to interrupt the virus’ carbohydrates.
“My study was aimed at identifying carbohydrates that the virus used,” she said. “You can interrupt the process and create a vaccine against it.”
The project submitted to the Siemens Competition lays the foundation for developing a vaccine, she said.
Sarah-Marie submitted her research in October to the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, an annual event partnering with College Board. Students can submit an individual or group project, and finalists receive scholarships from $1,000 to $100,000.
Judges in the competition consider a project’s creativity, field knowledge, comprehensiveness, interpretation, literature review, scientific importance, future work, clarity of expression and presentation, according to Siemens. It is considered the leading science- and math-based competition for high school students.
While she will not be moving on to the finals, Sarah-Marie was presented with a number of awards. Siemens also gave her a new video camera and backpack for participating.
Canterbury School also displayed a banner proclaiming that she was a semifinalist in the competition and announcements were printed in USA Today.
Sarah-Marie said she has not made a decision about where to go to college, but wants to carry out research in the field of biochemistry.
“I definitely want to do something with research when I get to college,” she said. “If I get into UF, I would like to continue in that lab.”
Sarah-Marie and her parents, Thomas Hopf and Dr. Ellen Hoefer-Hopf, live in Cape Coral.