For the second year in a row, two local teens won top science and engineering awards for their work with horses with asthma. Emma and Sarah Simmons, twin daughters of Lisa McLeod-Simmons and Jeffrey Simmons, were awarded 1st place in the Biomedical Engineering category at the 2023 Frederick County STEM competition held on March 25. The 13-year-olds are eighth graders at Mother Seton School in Emmitsburg.
Their project, “Smart Fabric Biosensing System for Monitoring Respiration Patterns in Horses with Respiratory Diseases,” developed an electronic device that enables horse owners and veterinarians to capture, record, and analyze the breathing patterns of horses with asthma. The small device, which is worn by the horse, can send the pulmonary function information to a smart phone app. This will help owners and vets to better diagnose and treat horses with respiratory diseases.
For their biomedical invention, they were also honored with the Battelle National Biodefense Institute (BNBI) Award; United States Public Health Service Meritorious Award; and the 20th Annual Raymond Ediger Award for Excellence in Agricultural Research.
Last year, Emma and Sarah took top honors at the Frederick County STEM competition for developing a portable and more efficient method to administer asthma medicine to horses. For this project, they advanced to a national science and engineering competition where they both won awards.
This summer they will continue learning more about horses and veterinary medicine at Purdue University’s School of Veterinary Medicine in West Lafayette, Indiana. Competing against hundreds of students, nationwide, Emma and Sarah recently won spots at the University’s pre-veterinary summer program.
Emma (left) and Sarah Simmons, 8th graders at Mother Seton School in Emmitsburg hold some of the awards they won at a recent science and engineering competition.