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Podlasek takes top prize at Thomas Alva Edison Science Fair.

By Staff | Feb 15, 2011

Amanda Podlasek proudly displays her First Place blue ribbon from the Thomas Alva Edison Science Fair.

Congratulations to Sanibel student Amanda Podlasek on her first place win at the Thomas Alva Edison Regional Science Fair for her study involving public knowledge of red tide.

Podlasek’s research started as a seventh grader at the Sanibel Sea School, working closely with creator and director, Dr. Bruce Neill. Although Amanda was not required by her school or district to present a science fair project, she felt compelled to do so because of her passion for animals and nature and belief that red tide is a pressing subject in our community.

“Thank you to my mentor, Dr. Neill, my teacher, and everyone who took the time to fill out my survey,” Podlasek said. “Without all of you I couldn’t have gotten so far. You’ve proven to me that you care about red tide as much as I do.”

In reaching out to the public through local newspapers, community flyers and a variety of social media outlets, Amanda was able to collect approximately 2,000 surveys in just two weeks. She was very excited with the response and plans to continue her research.

“I will keep working on Red Tide, even after high school, until a solution is found,” she added.

Her journey started with a first place win and the award of a four-year full scholarship to Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers. The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society also presented her with a $200 special award. This is the second scholarship that Amanda has received, her first coming from winning last year’s Edison Regional competition.

“She has worked very hard with Bruce at Sanibel Sea School and did her project there,” said Amanda’s mother, Elke. “We couldn’t be prouder.”

Podlasek, whose parents own the Island Cow Restaurant on Sanibel, is a freshman at The Canterbury School in Fort Myers. She will now move on to the State Science Fair.