SUSSEX COUNTY-Girls from two local high schools have taken honors in the Young Science Achievers Program, a project that recognizes outstanding female and minority high school students in New Jersey and New York for innovative research. Emily Nowicki and Ellen Woods from Kittatinny Regional High School won second-place honors for a project studying the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics. Kristin Savadge and Ashley Stec from Sussex County Technical High School won third-place for their design of a device that can be attached to a wheelchair, which, with the push of a button, can reward a service dog. Kellie Garrigan and Diana O'Shea, also from Sussex Tech, won honorable mention for developing a mechanism that mimics the motion used when knocking snow and ice off of a car windshield. Second-place winners received a $750 cash prize, and third-place winners received $500. First-place winners, three girls from the Young Women's Leadership School in New York who studied society's impact on ecological systems, received $1,000 in prize money. Young Science Achievers winners were presented their awards at a ceremony earlier this month at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City. Students from 27 New Jersey and New York high schools participated in the program. The program, now in its 16th year, awards grants to African-American, Hispanic, Native American and female high school students for physics, computer science, chemistry, biology and electrical engineering projects. The program is run by Lucent Technologies with support from AT&T Labs, the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the New Jersey Science Teachers Association. Projects are judged by the Young Science Achievers Board of Directors on a number of criteria, including creativity, originality and effort. The program helps minorities and females, who have typically been under-represented in science and technology, to gain access to the resources and mentoring that can help them work toward their goals, said Jorge Valdes, chair of the Young Science Achievers board. "Encouraging students to pursue careers in science and technology is essential and programs like this help encourage and foster many students' interests in these fields, he said.