Boca teen is 'America's Top Young Scientist'

Posted at 9:40 AM, Dec 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-26 13:18:12-05

A 15-year-old girl has big dreams of becoming an engineer. 

There’s nothing wrong with dreaming or even planning for your future, but Hannah Herbst is already well on her way to achieving her goal.

Herbst seems like any other girl her age, until she starts talking about her high-tech invention.
"And as the kinetic movement of the current energy as a result of tidal flux in the Boca Raton Inlet moves my pelting wheel system, it turns the AC generator," she says.

This intellectual teen is talking about a prototype of an ocean energy probe that could one day provide electricity to countries that don't have access to power.
"And then that power is transmitted through an epridirectifier, which converts it into DC power and then can light up my light system," said Herbst proudly.
Don't feel badly if you didn't get all that.
What's important to know is that Herbst, a ninth grader at Florida Atlantic University High School, developed this prototype with help from a 3M company scientist.

"I call it 'BEACON'," said Herbst, "which stands for 'Bringing Electricity Access to Countries through Ocean Energy.'"
In October, her invention won her the "2015 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge." It earned her the title of "America's Top Young Scientist."
"I was inspired by my 10-year-old pen pal, Ruth, who lives in Ethiopia and she's living without access to electricity and energy power," said Herbst. So, I wanted to do something to help them and so, that is my overall goal to deploy it to them."

Hannah is sharing part of her $25,000 prize with her pen pal and others.

"I recently donated $1,000 to her family, $1,000 to another family and $1,000 to Compassion International Christmas Program, which was amazing to be able to do.  That was the cap they would let me donate, so it felt really great to be able to help her in that way," said Herbst.
This enterprising young lady will be attending college at FAU next year, where she plans to study engineering.
She's just a regular 15-year old with big aspirations and the smarts to make it happen.

Good luck, Hannah!