DC high schoolers come in 2nd place for NASA science competition after backlash from hackers

- A group of young high school girls from D.C. have come in second place in a NASA student science competition, even after hackers and racist comments attempted to hinder the vote-based contest.

Benjamin Banneker High School students Mikayla Sharrieff, India Skinner, and Bria Snell competed in NASA's Optimus Prime Spinoff Promotion and Research Challenge (OPSPARC) with their design of a system to remove lead from drinking water in schools.

The students were the only all-black, female team to be named as finalists and were in the running to win the competition, but the voting was hacked after racist comments by anonymous online trolls on the website 4chan.

The voting was then disabled by NASA, who then announced that they would be making the decision themselves, based on a rubric.

The results of the contest were announced on Friday.

As second place winners, the teens have been invited to attend the awards ceremony on June 14. And while they didn't win the grand prize, they are being awarded $4,000 anyway from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser for the work.

"Through their brilliance and passion, Mikayla, India, and Bria are bringing our vision for In3 to life and making our city proud," Bowser said. "Mikayla, India, and Bria are just the type of people and scientists our world needs more of and we are proud to support their dreams."

A GoFundMe campaign was launched to support funding a college education for the three 11th graders.

So far, the campaign has raised almost $25,000 of its $30,000 goal, with renowned television executive Shonda Rhimes donating $14,500.

A group from Westminster, Maryland in Carroll County took second place in the grades 3-6 division.

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