Fort Mill student working to solve real-world problems with computers

Elizabeth Fitzgerald, a rising senior at Fort Mill High, is hoping to make a difference through math and science. Fitzgerald, 17, is in her fourth week of a six-week, intensive research program in Boston. She is one of 80 high school students from 35 states and 15 countries chosen for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-sponsored Research Science Institute. Jointly sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Education, the program pairs students with professional scientists, engineers, researchers and other mentors as they conduct graduate-level research projects. The students work in laboratories, hospitals and corporate research facilities in Boston and Cambridge. They also learn about science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, careers. “It’s been a great opportunity to find my own independence, meet other students like myself who try really hard in school and see what college will be like,” Fitzgerald said. Participants are selected by a Center for Excellence committee from a pool of top-achieving students based on high school records, personal essays, test scores, research experience and recommendations. Fitzgerald said her attempt to combine her love of tennis with math and science helped earn her a spot. Before applying for the institute, Fitzgerald worked on a way to program…

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