HATTIESBURG - An
eighth-grader from Presbyterian Christian School will compete for
the title of "America's Top Young Scientist of the Year"
in the 2004 Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge.
Mary Anne Messer, daughter of Dr. Tom and Carol Messer
of Hattiesburg, will be in Washington, D.C., from Oct. 23-27 to
compete in the nation's premier science competition for students
in grades 5-8.
One of 40 national finalists narrowed from a field
of 400, Messer emerged from The University of Southern Mississippi
Region I Science and Engineering Fair, where she won with her presentation
"Development of a Sleep Profile for Third- and Fourth-graders:
The Impact of ADD/ADHD." Messer is the only student representing
"This is really quite an honor, (Mary Anne's)
being the only student selected from the state," said Dr. Lawrence
Bellipanni, retired Southern Miss biology professor and current
co-director of the Mississippi Science and Engineering Fair.
Students from 16 states will compete for more than
$100,000 worth of scholarships and special prizes.
Discovery Communications launched the competition
in partnership with Science Service to nurture the next generation
of American scientists at a critical stage when interest in science
begins to decline. Now in its sixth year, the DCYSC recognizes the
children who demonstrate the best leadership, teamwork, communication
and scientific problem-solving skills.
"This year's competition continues the tradition
Discovery has established of making science fun for middle school
students while cultivating the next generation of American scientists,"
said Judith McHale, president and CEO of Discovery Communications.
"Discovery is teaching these future leaders not only the value
of science but also the importance of effectively communicating
their knowledge to others."
In Washington, D.C., the 40 finalists will take part
in the DCYSC competition at the Cole Field House at the University
of Maryland. They will compete in team-based, interactive challenges
celebrating 100 years of Albert Einstein's physics; 2005 marks the
centennial of Einstein's relativity theories and the DCYSC will
help to kick off the anniversary.
The challenges this year are inspired by Einstein's
physics - from relative and molecular motion to gravity and acceleration.
Skateboards and a half-pipe, a radar-gun luge and a laser obstacle
course will be used to help define Einstein's theories for a new
generation. These action-packed activities will be taped for broadcast
on the Discovery Channel and emceed by its popular television duo,
Olympic gold medalist and Maryland native Michael
Phelps will deliver an inspirational speech and help to celebrate
with the student scientists at the Oct. 27 awards ceremony.
The full list of the 40 finalists, their hometowns
and the titles of their winning entries can be found online at http://www.discovery.com/dcysc.
For more information, contact Bellipanni at (601)