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by Cherise Ryan
Lyric Gillett, 16, started participating in science fairs in the 3rd grade. By the 7th grade, she was taking physics classes and experimenting with sound levitation. This past spring, her intrinsic curiosity and passion for science earned her top awards in three separate events. Recognition for her achievements includes grand awards at regional and international science competitions as well as special honors from NASA, the United Space Alliance, and the U.S. Air Force.
Lyric Gillett accepts honors from Dr. Soner Tarim, president and superintendent of Cosmos Foundation through Harmony Schools. The 16-year-old has won numerous awards and scholarships in national and international science fairs.
An only child from Houston, Texas, Lyric has been homeschooled “since birth.” She became interested in science at an early age through studying the creation/evolution debate. “The complex composition of our natural world, revealed in all areas of science I was studying, made the hypothesis of evolution illogical at every new point of my exploration,” she said.
Her early fascination with physics led Lyric to experiment with sound levitations and to begin compiling and investigating research on the subject. She began experimentation with sonoluminescence, a process in which sound is used to levitate a bubble in water, resulting in the emission of short bursts of light from the bubble. During the process, the bubble becomes hotter than the surface of the sun, creating the possibility for limitless, clean energy through potential thermonuclear fusion.
Lyric presented this project at various science fairs. She put together a six-foot display of information as well as a 50-page notebook of research and six additional notebooks of preliminary research.
Every day during the fairs, Lyric joined the thousands of other student competitors to present her material to and be interviewed by judges. Interviews varied from a couple of minutes to over an hour, depending on the judge. “I sounded like a hoarse country western singer before it was over,” she said. “It was a great experience, but I was a walking zombie by the end.”
At the first fair, in Houston, over 1,200 students from 141 schools competed. Lyric received the Grand Award in Senior Physical/Engineering Sciences and progressed to the international level, where students from 51 countries and 38 states were in competition. She moved on to another international fair with 45 countries and 45 states represented. In each fair, Lyric won top awards and scholarships.
Science is not Lyric’s only interest, however. She is also involved in multiple sports, violin and piano competitions, orchestras, debate, mock government, National Honor Society, foreign language competitions, and HSLDA’s Generation Joshua program—not to mention normal high school work and preparing for the PSAT.
She originally thought she would follow her parents’ footsteps and become a lawyer. But the creation/evolution debate brought her back to the conclusion that she was supposed to pursue science. “I decided to work from the ground up,” she said. “So many world views start with individuals’ presuppositions regarding evolution, which in turn affect our government and society, and therefore I determined to go forward from that point and trust that God can use me as I study.”
Lyric credits her homeschool education with giving her such diverse interests by instilling in her a love of learning. It also helped her pursuit of science by allowing her to get lab time during hours that most students would have been in classrooms.
Lyric’s success at the fairs has earned her multiple college scholarships. “I’m a junior this year, so I have time to mull over what to do with those,” she said. She will be presenting her paper at an acoustics conference in Florida this November. “But that’s a limited time period for presentation, which is wonderful!” she said. “I’ll actually have a voice at the end.”