Sharp-witted scientist. Culinary chemist. Soccer team captain.
She's mixing things up.
There’s no experiment that intimidates eleventh grader Eleanor. A believer that everything takes a little patience and a lot of practice, Eleanor is a brilliant young scientist in the classroom—and in the kitchen. Inspired by the nexus of problem-solving, analysis, and creativity, she is a true polymath who calls upon her extensive knowledge of chemistry to refine and research her award-winning science fair experimentsand her go-to recipes.
Be it a beaker or a bowl, Eleanor’s cross-disciplinary mind paired with her desire to question the status quo power her to rise to any occasion.
Learn more about Eleanor
List of 8 items.
AP Chemistry, no contest. “It’s really interesting to see fundamentally how the world works at a very, very granular level by looking at atoms and molecules. The labs and experiments we do in Ms. St. Hilaire’s classes are more interesting than anything I’ve ever done before.”
How she’s gained confidence:
Through practice, trial, and error—most notably in English class. “I’m a big believer that if you practice something, you can get really good at it. When I first came to Ellis, I didn’t have many intelligent things to say about the books we were reading because it was a skill I hadn’t practiced yet. But now, three years in, I’ve gotten much better at those discussions because I’m constantly practicing. My confidence comes from the fact that if I know I’ve done something a ton of times, I know I can do it again if the need arises.”
Looking ahead with a creative mindset:
“I like to think about my future in terms of what I would like to end up doing and what I’m interested in. One of my favorite questions to ask adults is 'how does creativity manifest in your job?’ I don’t think I could do a job that doesn’t require any creativity, so I’ve developed this idea of what skills I want to use even if I haven’t figured out what I want to do just yet.”
On her horizon:
Finalizing her next science fair project. “I’m really interested in the single-use surgical masks people are wearing right now. I’m interested in looking at how these masks break down into microplastics and how they end up in our food chain.”
What she's good at:
Formulating, researching, and collecting data for science fair experiments. In ninth grade, she won the Senior Division Student Carnegie Science Award for her Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair project, Formaldehyde Production During E-Liquid Degradation. “My favorite science fair project of all time looked at how heating up e-liquid in e-cigarettes produces unwanted toxins, particularly formaldehyde. I know a lot of people who vape and I’m interested in the long-term effects. I expanded the experiment my sophomore year and designed a project that looked at how human A549 cells react to formaldehyde. I worked in a lab at Carnegie Mellon University after school and on the weekends.”
On taking time for teamwork:
As a captain on the varsity soccer team, Eleanor has not only led her team to the playoffs two years in a row, but has made sure that her team feels like a family. “Soccer has become increasingly more fun every year. We eat bagels and listen to music as a team before we ride to weekend games together. The family dynamic is really great.”
A passion for the science of baking:
“My love for science and creativity is directly correlated to why I like to bake. I love the problem-solving that appears in both fields. Sometimes, my recipes don’t go as planned and I have to figure out what went wrong. If my bread doesn’t rise properly, I have to fix my mistake and find a solution. There's this narrative that baking is super precise and you have to be really in tune with the accuracy of the measurements but I think that's a misconception. You can still be creative when baking. There are parts of every recipe you can tweak, which I like to do.”
How she uses her voice:
By educating others at science fairs and in the debate club. “There’s a public speaking aspect that I really enjoy in both debate and science fair. At science fairs, I’m communicating my data and my results, and in debate, I’m communicating my ideas and arguments.”