Over 1500 students from all over the country and the world were competing. There were even 16 students all the way from my home state of North Dakota. I was so proud of them!
The criteria for winning our $1500 cash prize was that the project had to be presented by a girl (grades 9-12) and involve one or more geoscience disciplines. Our winner was a senior from Washington state who did an extensive sediment coring project to identify tsunami-deposited sand layers in a tidal flat in Discovery Bay. From the distribution, she theorized about a 400-year recurrence of large tsunamis there. She was professional and thorough and a fair bit more advanced than several actual geologists I have worked with in the past. The one thing that all 20 or so students whom we interviewed shared was a passion and excitement for science. It was a fun and rewarding for me. Below is a picture of our big money winner, Marley, in the center with our honorable mention $150 prize winners.
One nice benny of the down turned economy, which has hit Reno hard, is that I got a great deal on this (above) sweet hotel room at the Atlantis Casino. This room, complete with fluffy robe and slippers plus a lavish breakfast, hors d'œuvres, and desserts spread in the restricted-entrance Concierge's Lounge, normally rents for $238 per night. I was able to get it for $99, saving the Foundation some cash that will go to other projects and scholarships. I would definitly stay there again.