Shortly after Matthew Bailey graduated from BrevardHigh School this year, his research was the subject of an article entitled "Finding a Natural Source of Medicine in Waterfall Plants." The article appeared in the blog of the Society
for Science and the Public on July 24, 2018.
He and his two project mates, rising seniors Nicole Rideout and John Nguyen, hiked down to Lower Bearwallow Falls in Gorges State Park to collect spray cliff plants as part of their research for their T.I.M.E. 4 Real Science course. They brought the plants back to the lab at Brevard High to study the endophytes in the plants; they wanted to investigate novel sources of medicine produced by endophytic compounds.
Bailey noted that only 14 people have been to Lower Bearwallow Falls, and that he and his colleagues had to get permission from the forest service and be accompanied by Gorges Park Rangers for the precarious descent. He acknowledged that it was the steepest hike he has ever attempted. It was worth the effort; among their specimens, 29 plants showed inhibition against several bacterial and fungal diseases. The trios' work earned them an Innovation Award from the Society for Science and the Public Community.
A native of Brevard and a 2018 recipient of a Connestee Falls Scholarship, Bailey plans to pursue his science studies at UNC Chapel Hill. He is interested in biostatistics, as well as biology and genetics. During his senior year at Brevard High he was particularly intrigued by the online course in genetics and biotechnology which he took through the North Carolina School of Science and Math. While he has not yet decided what his specific career focus will be, he is interested in both research and medicine and hopes to attend graduate school.
A linguist as well as a scientist, Bailey was president of the French Club in high school for two years, and, on his own, has dabbled in Danish and Swahili. As he wants to travel and would like to visit Croatia to see the many waterfalls and continue his research on the medical potential of endophytes, he plans to take Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian in college.
Bailey attributes much of his success to the teachers at Brevard High School. While he acknowledges that he has not always been so appreciative of the advantages of a small community and small school, he now realizes that his teachers were extremely dedicated and that they "really care" about the students. He also used to take Transylvania County for granted but now sees what a great place it is to grow up.
Bailey's mother is a medical assistant at Brevard Family Practice and his father is a mechanical engineer at Eaton Corporation in Arden. His sister is a student at Appalachian State University with a major in history and social studies secondary education. He noted that with two college tuitions to pay, his parents are "probably even more grateful" for the scholarship assistance he has received than he is. Asked what he would say to the volunteers and contributors to the Connestee Falls Student Scholarship Program about his award, he said, "It's a big help. I don't know what to say except thank you. I really appreciate it, and so do my parents."