Theater student’s science fair project could benefit mankind

Lauren Melendez

Aneysa Rodriguez holds a bouquet of flowers in the Theater Department.

By Lauren Melendez

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With a project that could one day benefit the world, Aneysa Rodriguez, a senior Theater Arts student at VMT, got the opportunity to travel to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Her project was focused on finding an alternative to synthetic antibiotics using natural materials. To conduct the experiment, she recruited Mark Secord, professor of Microbiology at Coastal Bend College in Beeville, Texas.

Rodriguez first took the project to the LISD Secondary Science Fair, where she won both the Grand Prize and the Naval Science Award , and thus, a trip to Pennsylvania.

To test the efficacy of natural antibiotics versus that of synthetic antibiotics, she used garlic and over-the-counter medications such as Penicillin and Tetracycline to see which was more efficient in killing bacteria.

In an email to The Magnet Tribune, Secord stated that he was “very surprised to see the strong antimicrobial properties displayed by the garlic. It was very effective at inhibiting [E. Coli] growth…I think it is a good reminder [to take a] holistic approach when dealing with modern problems.”

Rodriguez said her project could one day have a very large impact on the world, as natural antibiotics are inexpensive and can be easily transported. This revolutionary idea could benefit countries facing poverty on a grand scale, she said.

However, Rodriguez didn’t accomplish this feat too easily. She said she faced many difficulties at the start of her project, due to her lack of resources, the necessary materials, and the help required to even perform the experiment.

Despite these trials, she took home the grand prize.

“I was so shocked,” she said about hearing her name announced as the winner. “I had this gut feeling, at the beginning, that maybe I would win, but I didn’t really pay it any attention because I didn’t feel my project was capable of this.”

Winning the science fair made Rodriguez feel as though there were others who cared about her hard work as much as she did, and she said she is eager to show everyone in Pennsylvania what she has to offer.

“I wouldn’t have been anywhere near the grand prize if it weren’t for my family, friends, and the people that helped me out,” Rodriguez said.