Elizabeth LoPreiato started 2012 by winning the Saint Paul School science fair and the chance to compete in the Connecticut State Science Fair in March. There, the eighth grader won second place in the Pfizer Life Sciences category. She also received the Young Women's Scientist Award and a chance to compete at the National Broadcom Masters Competition.
Her application to the NBMC earned her a spot as a semi-finalist out of 6,000 nominees. With less than a week before school started, LoPreiato learned she was not one of the 30 finalist that would compete in Washington, D.C.
LoPreiato’s project was called: The Eco-Friendly Diaper; The Type of Cloth Verses the Rate of Decomposition, Landfill Design. Internet research about pollution and other environmental problems served as her inspiration. One article in particular discussed the need for an eco-friendly, faster decomposing diaper.
“Since diapers take 200 plus years to decompose, our landfills keep growing,” says LoPreiato. “My project is designed to find a faster decomposing material.” It took about 5 months to plan and complete.
“The hardest part of the project was actually conducting the experiment, given the nature of controlling for the elements of weather,” says LoPreiato. In her landfill design model, the same area is used to deposit the soiled eco-friendly diapers, harvest biogas (a type of bio fuel formed from organic waste), and compost fertilizer. “Each area evolves into the next, saving landfill resources,” she says.
LoPreiato enjoyed seeing all the other projects, which she describes as “impressive.” She is grateful to Miss Elaine Kotler, her former science teacher, who answered multiple questions during the initial stages of Science Fair. While LoPreiato is unsure of a specific career, LoPreiato would love to work in the field of science. She is the daughter of Berlin pediatrician Dr. Matteo LoPreiato and his wife Courtney.