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North County High freshman wins $96,000 college scholarship

A North County High School freshman won big at the 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair recently, scoring $96,000 in winnings.

Luke Andraka, a student at North County's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) magnet program, won the "Genius Scholarship" from Sierra Nevada College during the competition this month. The scholarship is valued at $24,000 over four years.

Andraka's project, "Electrochemical Remediation of Acid Mine Drainage," examined acid mine drainage's negative effects on the environment and wildlife.

"I was really honored to receive the scholarship," said Andraka, 15. "Only one-third of the students who compete win anything so I was honored. I didn't have a great feeling because it was heavy competition. I'm incredibly fortunate to have this opportunity already lined up as a freshman."

Andraka was a grand prize winner at the county school system's annual science fair in March and received an all-expenses paid trip to the Intel fair from May 9 to 14 in San Jose, Calif.

More than 1,600 youths from around the world participated in this year's fair from 59 countries, regions and territories, according to Intel.

"I hope that the energy these high school students exhibit about math and science will inspire yet another generation of innovators, scientists and entrepreneurs which will improve our worlds," said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini.

Andraka is not new to doing well in science competitions.

In 2008, while an eighth-grader at Chesapeake Science Point Public Charter School, Andraka placed fourth in the nationwide contest for a project that found a way to clean a stream without killing the macro vertebrae that live on its floor.

For that he earned $500 and the honor of having an asteroid named after him.

Andraka and his younger brother, Jack Andraka, a student at Chesapeake Science, plan to participate in the International Environmental Science Olympiad in Amsterdam in June.

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