image of sydney bostic with snake

MARTINSBURG — Sydney Bostic was recognized during the most recent Berkeley County Board of Education meeting for participating in the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair.

Bostic is an 11th-grade student at Spring Mills High School, and it was her second year going to the fair. Her project focused on using facial recognition to identify different snakes as a way to help farmers identify their animals.

Bostic, 15, currently has a 4.5 GPA and is taking college-level science classes at Shepherd University and West Virginia University. She is a member of the Spring Mills Student Government Association, the Black Student Union, 4-H Stem, First Tech Challenge Team and has been inducted into the National Society of High School Scholars and the International Honor Society.

Back in May, Bostic traveled to Texas to present her project at the fair. Bostic’s idea came when her teacher started talking about her ranch. The teacher had a hard time differentiating her cows, so Bostic decided to use her skills to find a solution.

“Many farmers use tags to differentiate their animals, but that was a very invasive way of doing it,” Bostic said. “I wanted to find a noninvasive way for them to keep track of their animals.”

Bostic took a basic facial recognition model, which she coded herself, and used it to recognize skin patterns on her family’s ball python snakes. She put together her presentation and won first place overall at the West Virginia Regional Science Fair at Potomac State University, as well as multiple other awards. She continued to participate in both the state and international fair, where she met many different students from around the world with similar interests.

“My favorite part has definitely been learning new things,” Bostic said. “Every year, I get to learn so much about my topic. I also get to look around and see what other people have worked on. I get to learn a lot from them and make connections with people from all over the world.”

Bostic hopes to go back to the fair next year and is currently brainstorming ideas. Bostic’s parents, Alex Bostic II and Dr. Chiquita Howard-Bostic, have always encouraged Sydney to follow her interests and do her own research. They are proud to see her succeed.

“Sydney very hard working,” Chiquita said. “She is comfortable learning things that aren’t typical for others. She has had so much support from her teachers throughout her education. We love that how her mind works and that she’s gotten the opportunity to meet kids like her.”

Bostic is still deciding on what she wants to do after high school. She plans on pursuing a degree in biology, computer science, engineering or chemical engineering. She is also considering attending Virginia Tech, not because her parents attended the school but because of its great STEM program.