Braden Milford from the US
What’s your ordinary life back home?
I go to school Monday through Friday 8 a.m to 3 p.m. I usually have a lot of science on top of that. I also like doing a lot of outdoors stuff like hiking with my family. We have a boat will go to the lake and water ski.
I learned about Stockholm Junior Water Prize from my science teacher during my junior year. I like scuba diving so my freshman year project was about ocean acidification and stuff like that with the coral dying. My teacher had selectors for the US Stockholm Junior Water Prize where all the state winners go. She had had two or three people go as Oklahoma winners to the National SJWP final but they never won.
So you went from a local fair to the State Fair and the Stockholm Junior Water Prize and now you’re here in Stockholm at the international final. Have you had any scary or challenging moments since starting it?
I would say probably US Nationals. That was crazy. I honestly didn’t even think I was in it at because so many other projects were great.
Oh, it was crazy when they said my name. I didn’t get it so I just like sat in my seat for the next 30 seconds and the people started looking at me like “oh they said Oklahoma”.
Why do you think your project won then?
I was able to condense my project in three minutes and communicate it effectively. I think that was probably a big part of it.
Can you give a 30-second explanation?
Basically it’s a low-impact cost efficient method to remediate heavy metals in water systems, by partnering algae and bacteria together in what’s called a sodium alginate detour the cells are fully contained and can kind of work together in relationship and take heavy metal ions, which is so cool. This experience has furthered my passion in water research, for a long time I always thought about going to med school but SJWP has really showed me what I am passionate about so now I’m looking into water research and environmental engineering as a career, so this really kind of changed what I’m focusing on.
I want to help people and I think it’s important to help those in need or people who don’t necessarily have as many opportunities and we need to protect the environment and not keep polluting it. We actually have to put in effort and pay attention to that kind of stuff.
Interviewee: Braden Milford
Interviewer: Edward Veem
Photographer: Lila Roumeliotou