Peter Yinanother freshman prodigy? Yeah, pretty much.

This year, from May 11-17, Ames High freshman Peter Yin will be attending the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Atlanta, Georgia. With nearly $4 million in prizes and scholarships, the Intel ISEF is arguably the most prestigious science competition available to high school students. More than 1,500 high school students from over 40 countries will gather there to display their independent research projects. Yin qualified for this prestigious competition through the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa (SSTFI), held in late March. His research project was titled “Can Green Tea Reduce the Spread of Antibiotic Resistance?” In SSTFI, Yin was grand winner in his division of medical sciences and also of the entire fair, finishing first out of about 100 people. His prize was an all-expenses paid trip to attend the Intel ISEF in Atlanta, as well as an additional $1500 in college scholarships. “The science fair was fun to do,” Yin said. “I learned a lot from it, especially how to do experiments successfully. As a bonus, I can also use the experiment I did as my AP Biology research project.” For his experiment, Yin took two strains of bacteria and then conjugated them in different environments. Bacterial conjugation is simply the transfer of genetic material between bacteria. One strain of bacteria, the control, was conjugated under a normal environment while another strain was conjugated in the presence of green tea. Yin found that the second strain of bacteria had less conjugation, indicating that green tea reduced the exchange of genetic material between bacteria, and therefore reduces the spread of antibiotic resistance. This means that drinking green tea could lower one’s chances of becoming sick. After completing the experiment, Yin also had to write a 10-page research paper and make a poster presenting his experiment and results in order to participate in SSTFI. Yin has had previous experiences with science fairs. He was first introduced to the Intel competition in sixth grade through the Extended Learning Program. For the past few years, he has used his father’s ISU lab and equipment to do a variety of experiments involving green tea. This is the first year that he has qualified for the Intel ISEF, though. Aside from his involvement with science, Yin plays tennis and participates in Mock Trial. He is proud of being on the Mock Trial B team, particularly since they made it to the State competition this year – an amazing achievement. Yin is looking forward to the Intel ISEF competition. He will have a busy week there. There will be two to three days of judging and then two days of awards, as well as some sightseeing. “I am planning to do science fairs all through high school,” said Yin. “It helped me get more interested in science and realize that I want to pursue a career in science.”