A Sheffield teen has been crowned the UK’s Young Scientist of the Year after a project to help people with cystic fibrosis.
Seventeen-year-old Sarah Sobka, who attends Sheffield High School in Broomhill, has been honoured for her examination of a drug which is used to combat irritable bowel syndrome, to see if it could be used for treating cystic fibrosis.
The genetic disorder affects the lungs, pancreas, liver and kidneys – one in every 3,000 babies are born with it.
The National Science + Engineering competition is an annual event open to all pupils aged between 11 and 18.
Sarah received £2,000 as prize money after her pioneering work was chosen by a panel of judges, beating more than 2,000 other entrants to claim the top gong.
Sarah said: “I was absolutely shocked to even be in the top five, so to have won the young scientist of the year award is an amazing feeling.
“When I started out, I didn’t know where the project would take me.
“Doing as many things related to science as you can is a great way to get into the subject, so if you see a book that you’re interested in, have a read; or if you hear about a scheme or competition, don’t be afraid to apply for it.
“I never thought I’d become a finalist, let alone the winner, so if you take every opportunity it really is the best way to get exposed.”
Imran Khan, chief executive of the British Science Association, which runs the competition, said: “We’re thrilled Sarah’s project has been awarded this prestigious honour.
“Her projects caught our imagination and we hope she will inspire other young people to enter the competition.
“Now in its eighth year, our contest has become renowned for recognising, rewarding and inspiring thousands of talented youngsters.
“We need to nurture a new generation of bright sparks, and the competition offers a great incentive to get youngsters experimenting and having fun with science and engineering.”