A Port Washington student born with a spine disorder that caused him to undergo more than a dozen surgeries has made his mark at the international level by creating a device that aims to help children with the condition.
Harry Paul, a senior at Paul D. Schreiber High School, was born with congenital scoliosis, a curvature of the spine caused by vertebrae that are not properly formed. Paul, who is 4-feet-10-inches tall, endured about 16 surgeries as a child, with doctors inserting increasingly longer rods about twice a year to help his spine grow straight.
Motivated by his experiences, Paul spent a year developing a spinal implant device that extends, allowing for lengthier spans between surgeries. The project won him some $20,000 in scholarships last month at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair in Los Angeles.
"The whole week was the best of my life," Paul, 17, said of the fair, which drew more than 1,700 students from 70 countries. "I didn't have any expectations; just being there was a dream."
His awards included a $10,000 Chief of Naval Research Award from the Office of Naval Research and a $5,000 best-of-category award. A patent for his device is pending.It was tested with the help of engineers at K2M, a Virginia-based company.
Paul will attend Tufts University in Massachusetts. He plans to study biomedical engineering and public health.