Representing an entire state in any format is no small feat. Nonetheless, Camdenton High School junior Emma Price will be doing just that as her research has earned her a ticket to the National Stockholm Water Prize competition, where her research into arsenic testing in drinking water will represent Missouri.

Representing an entire state in any format is no small feat. Nonetheless, Camdenton High School junior Emma Price will be doing just that as her research has earned her a ticket to the National Stockholm Water Prize competition, where her research into arsenic testing in drinking water will represent Missouri.

Price's research was selected out of over 200 entries from Missouri as the best and most impactful scientific research in the field. Her impressive research has found a cheap solution to test for arsenic levels in drinking waters that should go on to aid in less developed countries in their constant search for drinking water. Even more impressive, the method uses only human urine instead of costly chemicals not available to many countries.

Price worked alongside her teacher Chris Reeves to develop the idea, though Reeves says the work was done almost entirely by Price herself. He says Price is one of his most independent students when it comes to taking charge on a project and doing whatever is necessary to complete it.

The layman's summary of her work comes down to heating urine in a microwave to activate carbon dots. When adding this to drinking water, the combined solution will create a cloudy or clear mixture, which is a telltale sign of the levels of arsenic present. Oddly enough, the hope to find cloudy water, as the clearer water represents higher levels of arsenic.

Using human urine at no cost, this method could go on to supply less developed countries with a method of testing their water before drinking it. With roots in less developed countries herself, Price says the issue of accessible water with acceptable arsenic levels is a problem that is in dire need of a solution. This research is a large step towards that solution.

“I have a habit of coming up with outlandish ideas,” Price said. “I thought to myself ‘This is crazy, no one has tried this before.’”

What may serve as the most impressive feat of all, Price was able to complete much of this project during quarantine. She says much of the hard research was done in the early months of 2020 before quarantine, though a majority of creating the presentation materials had to be done from home.

Price had to showcase her research at multiple competitions leading to this point. Much of the contact she made with judges was over Zoom conferences, which she says took some getting used to. Now, she will present once more in hopes of winning the National Stockholm Water Prize competition. Winning this competition would earn Price a meeting with the King of Stockholm and a seat at the awards ceremony of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Reeves says he has a great group of kids in his department every year, but Price is right there at the top. He wasn’t sure where Price’s project was going to lead, and neither did Price at the beginning, but Reeves said he knows that she will always push through to succeed.

“Emma is a rare gem,” Reeves said. “To see what she was able to do in the short amount of time, not many kids could do that.”