Three teenage girls in Wa, D. C., came up with a way to purify lead-contaminated water in school drinking fountains that was so impressive this landed them among the finalists in the NASA-sponsored contest for high school students.
Mikayla Sharrieff, India Skinner and Bria Snell earned a spot in the competition finals ― the only all-female, all-black group to make it that far, according to The Washington Post.
To earn the public voting part of the competition, the particular trio of 17-year-old juniors accepted social media to raise awareness of their task.
Their hard work appeared as if it was paying off. On Weekend, girls were in first place with 78 percent from the vote, according to Blavity. com.
But that’ s when a number of users from 4chan — a good anonymous Internet forum whose members are already known to spew hurtful and homophobic comments ― focused the girls, according to the Washington Submit.
The users alleged the teens’ task didn’ t deserve to make the titles and that the voting was skewed because the black community was just voting for the girls because they had been black, according to the paper.
The trolls also suggested methods of hacking the particular voting system to favor adolescent boys.
The trollish targeting has been successful enough that NASA felt appreciated on Sunday to suspend the general public voting . The institution described why in a statement:
“ Unfortunately, it was delivered to NASA’ s attention yesterday that will some members of the public used social media, never to encourage students and support ORIGINATE, but to attack a particular college student team based on their race plus encouraged others to disrupt the particular contest and manipulate the election, and the attempt to manipulate the election occurred shortly after those posts.
“ NASA continues to support outreach and schooling for all Americans, and encourages our children to reach for the stars. ”
Planners said they have accurate records from the voting results prior to the attempted trolling, and they will notify the top three Open public Choice teams in each classification. A panel of judges can make the final determination of who will earn the top prize: A trip to NASA headquarters.
The winners will be introduced later this month.
Sharrieff, Skinner and Snell didn’ t discuss the controversy to the Washington Blog post.
However , the learners did say they are pleased their particular project has received positive interest from people all over the country.
“ In the STEM field, we are underrepresented, ” Sharrieff told the papers while using the acronym for science, technologies, engineering and math. “ It’ s important to be role versions for a younger generation who want to maintain the STEM field but don’ t think they can. ”
The project has inspired a GoFundMe campaign that expectations to raise $20, 000 for the teenager scientists. As of Thursday afternoon, this had raised more than $3, a hundred.