VIRGINIA

Emily Jackson hopes to make history in the field of science

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A Loudoun County teenager is hoping to make history in the world of science.

While most of her friends spend their free time playing video games, watching TV and listening to music, Emily Jackson is studying plants.

And the 17-year-old wouldn't have it any other way.

The Purcellville teen splits her education between Loudoun Valley High School and the Academy of Science.

"This is my corner of the lab," she said.

The corner is filled with PVC tubing, fish tanks, countless plastic bottles and gas cylinders.

It's where Jackson spends hours quenching her thirst for discovery.

"There are increasing levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, and they're increasing at alarming rates. This is not something that we can just reverse, so it's important to know how it's going to effect plants and animals and us," she explained.

She's investigating how plants are effected by a sudden change in CO2.

Jackson has four chambers with varying levels of gases. Each will house a different group of plants.

Academy of Science Director George Wolfe said, "When we ask our kids to do research, what we really want them to learn is critical thinking skills. Emily is not going to solve the problems of the world and photosynthesis, but she will make discoveries and she already has."

This past Jan., she was one of four students representing America in Singapore for the "International Youth Forum". Earlier this month, a poster breaking down her research landed her first place at the Texas Academy of Sciences annual meeting.

"Ever since I was really little, I had an undying sense of curiosity," Jackson said.

You could say it runs in the family.

Jackson's uncle has a PhD. in atomic physics, and her dad is a high school science teacher. 

This summer, Jackson is hoping to get an internship with the National Institute of Health. She's also working towards scholarships for college.

Her dream school? Columbia University.

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