Charlotte Michaluk, 14, a freshman at Hopewell Valley Central High School was recently selected for the prestigious Broadcom MASTERS national award. She is one of 30 finalists in the country, and the only finalist from New Jersey.
Broadcom MASTERS is the nation’s premier Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) competition for young people. Finalists were selected by a panel of distinguished scientists and engineers.
This year’s format will be virtual instead of in Washington, DC. Michaluk has been invited to present her research to leaders in the scientific community, which involves her exploration of the efficiency of cargo ships. Michaluk says she hopes that her research has potential to help to slow climate change and invasive species transport.
Michaluk’s nautical background as a lifetime sailor and ship hand as well as experience in water monitoring led her to become sensitive to these issues. She says was further inspired by her dry suit SCUBA diving in the Arctic Circle and in the Caribbean where she observed marine creatures in their natural habitat and observed species’ strategies to avoid biofouling.
Michaluk explains that she wondered whether something similar could improve cargo ships. She set to work studying engineering, physics principles, fluid dynamics, genetics, and materials science. She developed various ship hull coatings, and performed design iterations using a model organism and self-designed test stands to measure forces acting on a ship hull.
Michaluk also is known in the community for her environmental curriculums and educational programs for both adults and children, as well as her environmental work to help conserve acres of public water sources, wetlands and wildlife corridors. She says she is fascinated by the engineering design process and design of experiments in science and engineering. She is a dedicated young individual making a difference.
Broadcom MASTERS recognizes finalists’ science teachers with a one-year classroom subscription to Science News magazine and awards the finalists’ schools with $1,000.00 to use toward STEM activities.