A Lynbrook High School student was one of five finalists competing for a chance to launch a science experiment to the International Space Station.
Kaylie Hausknecht, a senior, focused on engineering photosynthetic bacteria using a recently discovered gene from tardigrades (microscopic invertebrates) to allow the bacteria to survive on Mars. She submitted her proposal to "Genes in Space," a national contest that challenged students to design DNA experiments to address challenges in space exploration. The competition received a record 559 entries.
As a finalist, Hausknecht presented her work last summer at the International Space Station Research and Development Conference in San Francisco. Although she didn't win, her school received a PCR machine and a gel electrophoresis machine.
"I love science, and the idea that someone recognized my proposal as a viable thing was exciting," Hausknecht, 17, said.
Hausknecht's other achievements include being a scholar in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, winning gold in the Long Island Math Fair, and winning first place in the Long Island Science & Engineering Fair. She is also a semifinalist in this year's Coca-Cola Scholars Program and National Merit Scholarship Competition.
In addition, she has competed on the Nassau County All-Star Math Team and participates in the Columbia University Science Honors Program. She is also president of her school's National, Math and Science honor societies, Science Olympiad team president, and Mathletes team captain.