Sara Volz, Young Scientist

What do curiosity and stubborn determination have to do with science? 

Meet Sara Volz, 17-year-old Colorado Springs scientist and winner of the $100,000 Intel Science Talent Search

Colorado Springs teenager and recent Science on Tap presenter Sara Volz vaulted to the top of the 2013 Intel Science Talent Search competition in Washington, D.C. earlier this year by being declared winner of the company's $100,000 first place prize.

Volz competed with 39 top high school seniors who had been selected by Intel as the nation's young leaders in innovation in the world of science. She is working to develop alternative fuel using algae.

According to the Intel news release, "Algae produces oil that can be converted into a sustainable, renewable fuel; however, the fuel can be costly. Sara used artificial selection to establish populations of algae cells with high oil content, which are essential for an economically feasible biofuel. Sara, who built a home lab under her loft bed, sleeps on the same light cycle as her algae."

Of her experience, Sara said, "It was wonderful to meet so many of my amazing peers--the best part of the competition by far was getting to interact with students who are going to be future colleagues and lifelong friends.

"Winning still feels unreal because I felt there were so many other people who deserved this honor. But I want to use the platform this award has given me to encourage other young researchers however I can. I feel that there is a terrible misconception in society about science--it's too often viewed as something complex and strange, shackled to a laboratory, when it's really the process of questioning. Curiosity and stubborn determination to get your questions answered are the traits needed for science."

BSCS is very proud of this amazing student-scientist. Learn more about Sara Volz and the award at

Intel Newsroom

VOA News Video

Intel video - Meet the Winners Intel STS

Intel video - STS First prize winner

Science on Tap