Scholarship Awards T.I.M.E. Program Student – Transylvania County, NC
Like many of his schoolmates at Brevard High School, Chase Bishop was an avid student in the T.I.M.E. 4 Real Science program.
He participated in the program all four years of his high school career, engaging in research on topics ranging from Mars to mosquitoes.
In his freshman and sophomore years, he and his partner focused on Mars. In the first year, they developed a dry ice engine, which could be made from the dry ice on Mars and used for energy there.
His second year they grew the cyanobacterium spirulina from Martian dirt and urine, showing that spirulina could be used for food should human beings set up colonies on Mars.
In his junior and senior years, Bishop and his partner turned their attention to mosquitoes. Their interest was sparked because, according to Bishop, mosquitoes are the deadliest animal on the planet, killing nearly one million people each year. At first they looked into the sound frequencies, which repel and attract Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes.
Ultimately they discovered that species has a sixth sense: magneto-reception, which is the ability to detect and respond to magnetic fields. The two were only the second group of researchers to look into this phenomenon. Their efforts won them a trip to Seattle, where they met the person who had written an article on the matter some 20 years earlier.
Bishop and his partner's efforts led to state titles at the North Carolina Student Academy of Science competition their freshman, sophomore and senior years, and second and first place finishes at the North Carolina Science and Engineering Fair their junior and senior years. Those wins led to numerous trips. In addition to the conference in Seattle, they attended conferences of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston and Austin, and the International Science Fairs in Pittsburgh and Phoenix.
"The T.I.M.E. 4 Real Science program at BHS is to science fairs what the Crimson Tide is to college football," Bishop said. "When we showed up at science fairs, the other competitors got scared." Bishop was also elected to serve as president of the North Carolina Student Academy of Science his sophomore year at BHS, a position he held for two years.
When Bishop graduated from Brevard High School in 2019, he received a Connestee Falls scholar-ship, which was very helpful when he enrolled in Western Carolina University.
He is now a rising sophomore at WCU majoring in chemistry and minoring in environmental studies.
He continued his science research under the tutelage of Dr. Bryan Byrd, still investigating magnetoreception in mosquitoes and ways to control the diseases they spread.
During breaks from his studies, Bishop works at Pisgah Labs in Pisgah Forest, where he was active in convincing management to begin manufacturing hand sanitizer during the pandemic.
Bishop was born and raised in Brevard and is a first-generation college student whose family has long roots in Transylvania County.
His mother's father, Larry Massie, owned McDonald's before state Sen. Chuck Edwards acquired the franchise.
His great grandparents on his father's side owned land in Cedar Mountain, and his paternal grandfather was a traveling Baptist preacher.
All of his grandparents still live in Brevard. His father, Alvin, works for Anchor Plumbing, and his mother, Sherry, helps people with drug addictions.
His older brother Bolt works for Carolina Supply in Graham, N.C. While Bishop played four years of football at Brevard High and fondly credits Coach Pritchett with turning the football program around, his twice-torn ACL has confined him to the sport of trout fishing at WCU, although he also views his research as a sporting endeavor.
Bishop credits the scholarship assistance he received, including the Connestee Falls scholarship, with making his university studies possible.
In his opinion, the most impressive thing about the Connestee Falls Student Scholarship Program is "the sheer number of people in Transylvania County who have been affected by the program."
He hopes it "continues assisting students into the future."