Next Stop, White House: Greenwich Teen Scientist Adds Another Accolade

GREENWICH, Conn. -- An up-and-coming scientist from Greenwich High who already snagged the Google Science Prize and sat down on "Late Night with Stephen Colbert," is headed to the White House.

Olivia Hallisey of Greenwich
Olivia Hallisey of Greenwich Photo Credit: White
Greenwich High junior Olivia Hallisey, 17, who invented a new way to test for Ebola, makes a lively appearance on "The Late Show With Colbert" in January. Photo Credit: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Olivia Hallisey, 17, will exhibit her Ebola diagnostic test at the 2016 White House Science Fair on Wednesday.

The White House will transform into a hands-on showcase of student innovation: robots, prototypes, tools to help fight climate change and cancer – all researched, built, and designed by the next generation of America's scientists.

President Barack Obama will present his sixth and final White House Science Fair on April 13 after hosting the inaugural competition in 2010. He'll welcome more than 100 top science, technology, engineering and math students from across the country who will show how they will change America's future.

Hallisey's project came about when she was learning of the Ebola epidemic spreading through Africa. Concerned that the people who most needed diagnosis and treatment did not have access to care, she decided to do something about it. 

As she learned about the challenges of delivering medical care in remote areas, she recalled her science lesson about silk storage and its stabilizing properties. She came up with the idea that silk could allow Ebola antibodies to travel much longer without the need for refrigeration. 

Hallisey won the Grand Prize at the Google Regional Science Fair for developing a test for ebola that would not require refrigeration. 

That win earned her a seat on the Stephen Colbert show, where the Late Night host marveled over the student's simple Ebola test. 

She also made Time Magazine’s list of the 30 Most Influential Teens -- along with Gold swimming medalist Katie Ledecky, actor/rapper Jaden Smith and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai.

Also a swimmer with Chelsea Piers Aquatic Club, she said in an interview with Swimming World, that the discipline of the team sport helps organize her day.

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