A Little Rock Central High School senior who conducted research under the mentorship of a UA Little Rock faculty member has been named the Google Science Fair State Winner from Arkansas.
Anusha Bhattacharyya, of Little Rock, earned the honor for her project, which is focused on finding an inexpensive method of removing Nitrophenols, a chemical found in pesticides, from water. She completed her project under the mentorship of Dr. Anindya Ghosh, professor of chemistry.
“When I walked into Dr. Ghosh’s laboratory at UA Little Rock for the first time in the ninth grade, I had very little idea about what I wanted to do,” Bhattacharyya said. “However, I have always had concerns about the environment and believe environmental pollution poses the greatest threat to ours and future generations.”
Ghosh, who has been working with young student researchers for many years, said he hopes the experience will lead Bhattacharyya to further develop her science skills in college.
“I have worked with close to 25 middle and high school students for their science fair research,” Ghosh said. “My goal is to provide them with great research experiences, so that some of these students are encouraged to pursue STEM-related careers. I have worked with Anusha for the last three years, and it has been great to work with such an intelligent and motivated young student.”
In her science fair journey, Bhattacharyya has received many recognitions along the way. In the ninth grade, she was named a Google Science Fair Regional Finalist. She has been a finalist in the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in 2017, 2018, and 2019. In 2018, Bhattacharyya won a scholarship to Arizona State University and a third place $1,000 award in the Earth and Environmental Science category for her research to find a suitable adsorbent using naturally abundant environmentally benign materials to remove nitrophenols from water in an efficient, inexpensive, and sustainable way.
All of Bhattacharyya’s research projects have been geared towards solving issues related to environmental pollution. She has worked on alternative energy sources, including finding cheaper fuel cell catalysts and removal of pollutants from water.
“UA Little Rock provided me my first college experience,” Bhattacharyya said. “Thank you to Dr. Ghosh for opening up his lab and giving me the opportunity to work with him and his students.”