PARKLAND, FL- Zoe Weissman has a future ahead of her in science. The Parkland resident and American Heritage Plantation student was recently named one of 30 National Finalists for the Broadcom MASTERS Award. Weissman was the only South Florida finalist chosen from a group of over 50,000 students that applied for the award nationwide.

Weissman's science project involves her findings about how men and women perceive pain differently and the gap between medicines geared for men versus women. Specifically, Weissman found that the majority of test subjects in pain perception clinical trials are male, while the majority of chronic pain patients are female. 

"This was my first year of conducting my own independent research project!" Weissman said. "I thought this was an extremely important issue that not many researchers were paying attention to."

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Weissman tested her studies on fruit flies and found fascinating results.

"The most interesting aspect of my study was the drastic difference in reactions between male and female fruit flies I used in my experiment," she adds. "They each experienced a vastly different amount of pain depending on the type of tests I used to measure their reactions."

Broadcom MASTERS is considered one of the nation's premier middle school STEM competitions.

To compete, students must find an affiliated science fair to enter. The top 10% of students at the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade fairs are then eligible to enter into the Broadcom MASTERS competition. The top 300 entrants are chosen in September, and the final 30 are selected to showcase their projects during finals week in October. Under normal circumstances, the finals are held in person in Washington, D.C. This year, the finals will be held virtually. 

"When I got the call that I am one of the 30 Broadcom finalists, I burst into tears of joy. I was shocked that I made it and so appreciative of the honor. I hope through this opportunity that I can raise awareness for bias in medicine," she said.

To see all the finalists for the competition, click here.