Teen uses science fair project to advocate for change

DANDRIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) - It's a right of passage, the middle school science fair. But 13 year old James Baker looked beyond lab rats and robotics to research a topic close to his heart. James turned his focus to his baby cousin Audrey, his aunt's foster daughter who was born two months premature to a mom addicted to meth.

"Whenever she came along, it bothered me, it affected me. So I decided to... I decided to do this," said James.

James decided to do a research project on the effects drug abuse can have on an unborn baby.

"Every day for the last few months it seems that he's been focused and focused and focused on this situation, this problem," said James dad, James Baker.

James project was nominated to go on display at a state wide science fair. The judges decided it didn't quite meet the qualifications, but Jame's parents say he's still a blue ribbon winner in their eyes.

"Very, very proud of him. Extremely proud. More than life itself. He will make a change," said James dad. "It only takes one person to do that. He has grown with this and learned a whole lot from it. We all have."

This project is just a first step for James.

"I would like to focus on the high school kids who do this and I would like to work in the NICU and help in the hospital," said James.

His family says he's already made a difference for them, preserving Audrey's memory even if they don't have her physically around for very long.


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