Wiz Kid

By: Mike Tolbert
By: Mike Tolbert

Growing up on a farm, Matthew Richardson is all too familiar with the nematodes, or parasites that kill cotton and peanut plants.

"This farm, my dad, for the last few years we have occasionally had problems with nematodes and they're very hard to control, there's so very few options," says Matthew.

He wanted to find a way to protect the plants without using chemicals that can harm the environment. He figured out a solution with a science fair project that eventually made it to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Portland, Oregon.

There, Matthew took home first place and a $3,000 prize.

"I couldn't hardly believe I won, it was just incredible the level of competition they had there," he says.

Matthew found that collard and butterfly pea plants naturally resist the parasites. A solution he says came naturally.

"My mom's a science teacher, my dad, my grandfather went farming all their lives, so I just basically put the two together the science and the farming background," says Matthew.

So what's next for this science celebrity, the man who's conquered of one of the world's toughest science fairs?

Matthew's family believes he is the only student from Walton County to ever take home top honors from the International Science Fair.


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