Alumni Spotlight

Sia Reddy and the Pellet 'o' Trap

Sia Reddy, TMA Class of '22

At Talcott Mountain Academy, we've become accustomed to seeing our young scholars and inventors make it to some rather impressive places. If you frequent the Connecticut Science Center's Women in Science Saturdays, you may have spoken with a young woman with a unique approach to tackling the global issue of plastic in our oceans. Last November, Sia Reddy was one of only four students invited to showcase their projects as part of this initiative.


Every year, students at Talcott develop innovative solutions to everyday challenges in preparation for two local and extremely competitive competitions: the Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair, and the Connecticut Invention Convention. As an eighth grader, Reddy set her sights on developing a new system to tackle the global issue of plastic in our oceans. Her solution? The "Pellet-'O'-Trap."


Her multi-filter system captures toxic pearl-shaped plastic pellets, also known as 'nurdles', that often make their way into the oceans as a result of shipping accidents and spills. 


Billions of these tiny plastic pellets litter the oceans, serving as sponges for other toxins and chemicals in the water. Pollutants can be a million times more concentrated on the surface of the pellets than in the water --and they can even be deadly to seabirds, fish and other wildlife, who often mistake them for food.


Despite the immense challenge that collecting these tiny pellets presents, Reddy's device has an eighty-seven percent success rate. 


Since the pellets travel primarily through stormwater pipes and combined sewer overflow to the ocean, and both of these pathways have very strong currents, Reddy is currently working to rebuild the mechanism with more durable industrial materials to withstand the force of the water currents. 


Additionally, she is researching facilities where she can test the device to observe its efficiency in real-life situations. Her goal, once these two steps are completed, is to apply for a patent in the future.


Keep up the great work, Sia! 



Prof. Kerri Cahoy--Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics; Co-director, Small Satellite Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Chris DiPentima--President, Connecticut Business & Industry Association


Dr. Eric Fossum--"I went to Talcott Mountain, Trinity College and Yale University--and Talcott was as important to my education as either of those other two."


Dr. Linda Ivany--"The experiences that I had [at Talcott] were invaluable to me as a fledgling scientist and as a person. The Science Center is a true jewel among educational institutions for the many unique opportunities it provides for students everywhere."


Dr. Greg Kochanski--"It all started with you, George (George Atamian, former TMSC Associate Director and co-founder), chasing comets at Talcott Mountain Science Center."


Steve Perlman--"It's the only place that I really fit into. It's the only place that could keep up with me and I could keep up with it."


Guy Simonian--"Founder Don La Salle inspired me to take on challenging assignments and excel in their execution. The goal, of course, was to deliver science education to curious young minds through organized interactive hands-on activities."


Neil Theise--Physician/Scientist; Professor of Pathology, NYU Grossman School of Medicine--"TMSC was my nerdy kid happy place, where I could fully be myself, hanging out with other kids who had the same quirky interests and, most importantly, with teachers who made me believe that, literally, the sky was the limit."