BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Louisiana teen, who happened to be the only student from the US invited to Africa for a big international science competition, walked away with the grand prize.
Jalen Scott, an eighth grade student at Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School in Baton Rouge, won for having the best overall project at the Golden Climate International Environmental Project Olympiad in Nairobi, Kenya.
Scott's project studied elevated lead levels on several playgrounds throughout East Baton Rouge Parish. It began as a science fair project and after the results were published in an academic journal, it attracted national attention.
Scott explained his reaction to winning the Wangari Maathai Special Award.
"When they called my name as the winner, I got real nervous," Scott said in a written release. "My legs started shaking and I was afraid I couldn't walk."
The award is named for the Kenyan environmentalist who became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
The competition featured dozens of the top middle and high school students from more than 35 countries.