By Anirudh, 2011 Caroline D. Bradley Scholar
2011 Caroline D. Bradley Scholar and then high school freshman Anirudh was selected as the winner of the United States Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP), “the world’s most prestigious award for water-related science and technology projects.” Anirudh recently traveled to Stockholm, Sweden to represent the U.S. at the International SJWP competition with his project, “Use of Sulfidation as a Novel Method for Reducing the Toxicity of Silver Nanoparticle Pollution.”
As the winner of U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) competition, I had the honor of representing the United States at the international SJWP competition held in Stockholm, Sweden in the first week of September. I am immensely grateful to Water Environment Federation (WEF) for giving me this fantastic opportunity. The overall experience, both inside and outside the competition, was incredibly enriching and somewhat hard to encapsulate in words, but I will try.
The days leading up to the competition were somewhat frenzied. Ms. Stevi Hunt-Cottrell of WEF took care of all the logistics and also supported me tirelessly with the minutest details on requirements for SJWP poster, dress codes and many other important things I would possibly not have thought of. As I sat on the long flight, I was excited and apprehensive at the same time. I had the tremendous responsibility of doing a good job of representing the U.S. in a global competition in a sea of worthy competitors from exotic places all over the world! I was unsure if I could relate to them, or communicate with them effectively, given the cultural and language barriers.
Soon after I landed in the Stockholm airport, I happened to meet the students from Netherlands and France. Almost immediately my initial fears were proven to be unfounded. All of them spoke fluent English and were so easy to talk to. Not only did we have similar interests in science and water research, we connected on other things such as soccer. This became a recurring theme as I met the rest of the group later. I made many good friends during that short week – people I would always stay in touch with. I still remember how seven of my closest friends stayed up until 4:00 AM on the last day to see me off to the airport. I was extremely touched that they all sacrificed their sleep to say good-bye to me.