- Julia Abelsky, rising sophomore
- North Springs Charter High School
She is the winner of the school and county science fairs and was runner-up at the state level. She is a proud recipient of the National Researchers Conservation Service Award of Excellence as well as the Regional Stockholm Junior Water Prize for outstanding achievement in water-related science. She also happens to rank 16th in the nation for fencing for her age and gender.
And Julia Abelsky isn’t yet a sophomore in high school.
Julia just wrapped up her freshman year at North Springs Charter High School and already has built quite a résumé. It began in September, when incoming freshmen were told that they had to participate in the science fair in order to qualify for North Springs’ science magnet program.
“I feel that if they wouldn’t have required me to do it, I definitely wouldn’t have done it, just because of all the stress and pressure at the beginning of the year,” Julia said. “Now, seeing the opportunities and how much excitement it brings and how much I’ve enjoyed it, I definitely am going to continue it throughout all my years of high school.”
For her project, she tested different materials in the creek in her neighborhood, which was creating runoff. She tested soil, leaves, gravel, and mulch and concluded that sand was most effective in controlling the runoff.
Her mentor and teacher, Patti Lawrimore, said she was moved by Julia’s passion to improve the environment.
“She wants to make her research more applicable to the real world and whole community situations, as opposed to a test-tube sort of thing,” Lawrimore said. “For a freshman to go beyond an assignment that a teacher gives you and actually come up with something you did by yourself is amazing.”
While Julia was attending the state science fair in Athens, her project received multiple awards from private groups.
The National Resources Conservation Force for Georgia honored her with its Excellence Award for the senior division because of her project’s goal of protecting the environment. She also received the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, which is awarded to students who have conducted water-related projects focusing on local, regional, national or global topics of scientific and technological importance.
Julia already has begun work on a project for the science fair next year.
“I’m hoping to make a better project and hopefully to continue after state [level],” she said. “I’ll be going in to a few labs to conduct my research and I’m going to be looking for beneficial bacteria in the fertilizer. I was only able to do basic lab tests, but now I’ll be able to do more in-depth testing.”
Julia also has a passion for fencing. She spends many hours after school at a downtown Olympic fencing facility, where she trains for national competitions that she participates in each month.
Her most recent was the Fencing National Cup, where she placed 12th nationally out of 80 competitors. Overall, she is ranked 16th in the United States for her gender and age.
“It doesn’t really surprise me that she can manage the two and have the results she’s had,” Lawrimore said. “Kids that go to North Springs tend to do that and excel at lots of different things, but as a freshman again coming to a new school and new life with a heavy workload, it’s great to see.”
Julia plans to continue her science fair project in to her sophomore year.
Because she is only a freshman, college seems so far in the distance that she really hasn’t thought about it much.
“I definitely plan on going to college,” she said. “I don’t really know where yet, considering that I’m a freshman, but I definitely want to go to a somewhere with a fencing team and hopefully get a fencing scholarship.”