17 year-old Mary Masterman of Oklahoma City just won $100,000 by designing and building a Littrow Spectrograph system with just under $300 worth of parts in Intel’s Science Talent Search competition. Not a bad investment after all, not to mention her high likelihood of getting into the college of her choice.
Here is a picture reproduced from the Make Magazine web site of Mary in front of her contest-winning poster.
Note in particular, the three hefty laboratory notebooks resting on the table. That gives you an idea of the likely efforts, scope, and duration of a genuine science research and development project that is actually approachable in high school with the right mentorship and guidance.
Plus she got to meet the President.