By Kelly Pingleton | May 25, 2023

ST LOUIS – Science Coach – St. Louis, Missouri announces that Alice Wang Liu, a junior at Marquette High School in Chesterfield, Missouri and Science Coach participant placed fourth in the world in the Chemistry category at the 2023 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (Regeneron ISEF) in Dallas, TX. She also won a third place, $2,000 special award from the American Chemical Society for her project, titled: Evaluating the Effectiveness of β-Cyclodextrin as a Surface Modification to Nanoporous Gold in the Electrochemical Detection of Acetaminophen. Liu’s research contributes to a promising method for the development and incorporation of rapid testing devices to detect acetaminophen levels in the environment. Liu Project Details.

In the Science Coach program, students choose a research topic based on their personal interest. For Liu, her spark started with a concern about water and soil pollution. “I am an avid hiker and I started noticing pipes, water runoff, and new construction near my trails. When trying to figure out how to quantify the chemicals found in the environment, I discovered that current acetaminophen testing methods are slow, expensive, and inaccurate,” said Liu. “Through unique surface modification to a nanoporous electrode, I found a significant enhancement in the overall electrochemical sensing response resulting in faster, cheaper, reusable, and simpler alternatives to traditional methods of acetaminophen detection. The compact and potentially transportable nature of electrochemical sensing devices could be a major boon to help improve rapid testing and determination of acetaminophen in-field.”

Dr. Cathy Farrar, Liu’s Marquette high school Science Coach Teacher said, “Alice is an excellent young scientist. She is an incredibly hard worker who is both curious and capable. This project provided opportunities to challenge herself and gain new skills.”

ISEF is the world’s largest global pre-college science and engineering competition. Nearly U.S. $9 million was awarded to the finalists, who were evaluated based on their projects’ creativity, innovation, and depth of scientific inquiry. The competition featured over 1,600 high school scientists representing 49 states and 64 countries across the world. “Winning a place at ISEF is like winning a medal in the Olympics.” said Jill Ott, Executive Director, Co-Founder, and inventor of Science Coach. “Science Athletes work for years to earn the chance to compete at this prestigious international event,” added Ott. “Congratulation to Alice and the other seven Science Coach students who competed in this year’s competition.”

Also available to read in the St. Louis Post Dispatch.