Orlando teen wins top prize in prestigious science competition

Atreya Manaswi receives $5,000 scholarship for himself, $1,000 cash prize for his science teacher, school

ORLANDO, Fla. – A local teen won the top prize at the prestigious Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition at the Orlando Science Center.

Atreya Manaswi, a sophomore at Orlando Science High School, took home a $5,000 scholarship for himself and a $1,000 cash prize for both his science teacher and his school.

Dr. Nelson Ying is a local scientist and philanthropist who has partnered with OSC for 25 years to celebrate outstanding student scientists. The contest is open to any Florida high school student who is pursuing research with the ultimate goal of benefitting humanity.

“I was so surprised and honestly honored. I competed in this competition last year and competing again in front of the judges and really connecting with them and getting their feedback on my research and more than just winning the award, making connections with fellow peers, and getting reviews from these expert mentors and leaders in the industry was a really valuable and rewarding experience for me,” Manaswi said.

[TRENDING: Become a News 6 Insider]

Manaswi’s winning project is the culmination of three years of research about honey bees, beetles, and pesticide alternatives.

“Eighty percent of global food and crop pollination. One in three bites of food we eat every single day, and 183 billion in the global economy. That’s what honey bees give us. They’re indispensable pollinators and they play a crucial role in not only our agricultural supply but ecosystems, biodiversity and so much more,” he said. “I discovered that this treatment based on beer is 80 times cheaper than the leading chemical and equally effective as that leading chemical. Globally it has the potential to save the beekeeping industry one billion dollars annually. It doesn’t leech into the environment, it has no effects on wildlife, aquatic organisms, humans, and it doesn’t leech into any hive products unlike the toxic chemicals that are currently being used to treat for this small hive beetle, this pest that I was tackling.”

Judith Bright is Manaswi’s biomedical teacher at Orlando Science High School.

“It’s a small school, the kids love to learn, and we have a little bit of ability to be flexible with the way they learn and how they learn, and so it’s very exciting,” Bright said. “They’re curious. They ask a lot of questions. They figure out the right questions to ask and how to go and proceed to follow their passion. I am extremely proud of Atreya. And he has worked so hard.”

Manaswi said teachers like Bright are why he’s able to succeed with this project.

“I want to thank my mentor Dr. Stahl from the USDA who’s mentored me in my research, I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. I want to thank my teachers Mrs. Judith Bright, my parents, my friends, and my school for never giving up on me and bringing me where I am today.”

And the next step?

“So this summer I’m going to be traveling to Germany as an invited speaker for my work leading the African youth delegation there, so that’s going to be an experience, it’s going to be once in a lifetime,” Manaswi said.

Manaswi tells News 6 he published a children’s book called “The Bee Story,” which is available on Amazon here:

“And that’s really the greatest satisfaction I have in doing this research, knowing that I’m contributing to a cause that affects every single person every day on our planet,” Manaswi said.

To learn more about the Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition and how to enter for 2024, visit the Orlando Science Center online here:

Get today’s headlines in minutes with Your Florida Daily:

About the Author:

Julie Broughton's career in Central Florida has spanned more than 14 years, starting with News 6 as a meteorologist and now anchoring newscasts.