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Can First Responders Handle Stress Better? Teen Investigates and Wins Science Fairs Using Human SpikerBox

Sofia R. De Lorenzo presenting her work on stress tolerance first responders
Sofia presents her work. Photo her own

Related Post: High School Students Publish a Paper on Plant Physiology in a Notable Journal

It’s tested and proven: Paramedics, firefighters, police officers and other first responders are almost twice as likely to develop PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) at some point in their lives than the rest of us. Still, many of them are either unaware of it or they go on with their lives without ever reporting or treating it. Worse yet, as reports have it, they are 1.39 times more prone to suicide than others.

While heroes of our communities are busy helping others, there’s someone who thinks of them. Sofia R. De Lorenzo, a teen attending Tucson High Magnet School in Arizona, turned to science to find out if stress tolerance in first responders could actually be greater than in civilians. But her aim went beyond asking the right question and finding an answer to it. The overarching goal of her research was to spread awareness of the underreported psychological impact in first responders.

And it just so happened that her research caught the ear of many! Encouraged by her school teacher Jeremy Jonas and mentored by John Moore from the Ricoy Lab, she ran a poster presentation and penned down her findings in a research paper. A bunch of awards would ensue: the SARSEF Fair Grand Award in Behavioral and Social Sciences, APA Certificate of Achievement in Research in Psychological Science, Easterseals Blake Foundation Top Award and The Betsy Bolding Top Award.