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Freshman vies for young scientist title
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Forsyth County News
Sehee “Erika” Kim completed an assignment for her science class last school year that recently landed her a trip to New York City.

This month, Kim was chosen as one of 10 finalists from across the nation in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

She’ll travel to the Big Apple in October to compete for $50,000 in U.S. savings bonds and the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.”

The South Forsyth High School freshman said she never dreamed she would make it this far.

She made the winning video entry at the end of her eighth-grade year after her teacher used the contest parameters for an assignment.

“I just set up a camera in my back yard and went for it,” Kim said. “I guess it turned out better than I thought.”

Kim’s video demonstrated how putting newspaper on glass can prevent the glass from shattering during a hurricane or tornado.

She got the idea from her parents, who use the uncommon technique, she said.

Her Piney Grove Middle School science teacher, Katie Richelt, said the class could tell the video was a standout.

“Her video was excellent because she was able to explain the science behind it, and she was able to apply it to real life,” Richelt said.

Richelt encouraged Kim to enter the contest, but didn’t know she had submitted the video until she heard Kim was in the top 10.

She was not surprised that one of her higher level students would be in the running for the top prize.

“She was always a step ahead,” Richelt said, recalling a previous science fair project of Kim’s. “Most students were measuring plants and things and she was measuring the speed of light.”

Richelt looks forward to finding out how Kim will do in the final competition.

Kim said she’s so far been given an “innovation box,” with various supplies that have to be used in an assignment to invent something for protection or security.

The project is a big part of her score in a series of individual challenges at the national competition, she said.

“I’m looking forward to who’s going to be the judges because they’re real scientists,” Kim said.

The shy student added that her biggest challenge may be speaking in front of them.

“I hope I’m not too nervous,” she said.