Local high school student to compete in international science competition

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A teen in our area isn't just striving for an "A" in the classroom.

He hopes to combine his love for science and technology with helping others.

Like many tenth graders, Alex Johnson, a student at Rutherford High School, is working on honing skills he enjoys.

"After high school, I'd like to do something in the college fields of technology where I can design things and then later program them to work, so make some sort of hardware that can then be programmed by software. It's, like, the ultimate dream for me," Johnson said.

Unlike many tenth graders, however, he will be taking his skills to an international science competition in Pittsburgh.

"I'm going to go there. There's about 1,800-ish other competitors there, there's 22 categories, and so I'm just going to try to do my best," Johnson said.

"As a principal, it's wonderful. To see one of your students get the highest recognition at the science fair is an outstanding feeling. I feel like a proud dad," Coy Pilson, Rutherford's principal, said.

Johnson received an international bid for his project presented at the Three Rivers Regional Science and Engineering Fair last week.

"I wanted something that can help people that had a large application and so I thought, 'Is there a way I can use technology to do this?' And so I thought of a way where I'm using a software, I'm working with a developer, he's in Canada, and the software basically takes what you say and puts it into text," Johnson said.

In his abstract, he explained how he combined a speech-to-text program with a tiny computer in a 3-D printed wearable case.

What he also combined these with was compassion.

"It's a really cool feeling to have something that actually works and it can actually help," Johnson said.

He will compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh in May.

Principal Pilson told us the Rutherford Rams won several awards at the Three Rivers Regional Science and Engineering Fair.