Van Buren High School junior receives full scholarship at International Science Fair

Junior Lydia Heald's presentation at the International Science Fair won her a full scholarship to Drexel University.

When KTVO last caught up with Van Buren High School junior Lydia Heald, she was about to head off to Phoenix, Arizona to represent her school at the International Science and Engineering Fair.

Lydia competed against 1,500 students from 72 different countries at the fair and returned home with a big prize -- a full-ride scholarship to Drexel University in Philadelphia, a scholarship worth around $160,000 total.

While at the International Science Fair, Lydia said she thought she was being interviewed for a survey, but at the awards ceremony later on, her name was announced. She had no idea what prize she had won and no idea how big of an honor she was receiving.

Lydia will be going to Philadelphia with her family this summer to check out the school.

"It's a long ways away from home, but it's probably one of the best opportunities I'll get in my lifetime," she said. "So it's a very good chance that I'll be taking that scholarship, unless I get a better offer, but they say that Drexel is the Harvard of the East Coast, as well, so that's a pretty great experience."

The timing is uncanny -- Lydia said she was just starting to reconsider her plan to go to school in state when this opportunity presented itself and it has totally changed her thinking for the next few years.

On top of receiving the scholarship, Lydia was able to meet students from all over the world and said she was incredibly impressed with the quality of work from her fellow students.