Never Too Young For Science

Friday, November 25, 2011 - 9:41am

8th grader is researching bat disease for Bucknell University.

An 8th grader from Connecticut with a keen interest in science is already doing research at a university.

Gwynne Domashinski has focussed her energies on a problem plaguing the bat population.

At age 10, Gwynne became convinced there's a parallel between White Nose Syndrome and chy-trid fungus, two ailments plaguing bat populations.

Her mom says she simply wouldn't let it go.

"She decided to start calling professors to pitch her idea, to see what they had to say about where she was going with it," she recalls.

Several dismissed her theory, but one's interest was peaked.

A professor at Bucknell University invited Gwynne to discuss her theory.

"It turns out that the two actually were related, contrary to what a lot of other scientists were saying," Gwynne says.

Now every six weeks or so Gwynne's interest in bats takes her all the way from her home in Avon, Connecticut 300 miles south and west to Bucknell University.

The Domashinskis have been traveling to Lewisberg, Pennsylvania for nearly four years now and Gwynne is a valued member of the Bucknell research team, despite the one obvious difference.

"With scientists, they don't seem to notice the age," says Margaret Domashinski. "They just talk to her like she's another scientist and they go back and forth with their ideas."

"I've honestly never thought an age difference was a problem if their interests are the same and their working ability is the same," Gwynne says.

So while Gwynne seeks to solve a problem that's baffled top biologists, she's looking toward high school and beyond.

"For college, I at the time plan on going to Bucknell," she says.

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