By Mike Dougherty

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – More than 250 students in grades 6 to 12 from Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties Saturday competed in a science fair sponsored by the Coriell Institute for medical research.

Coriell CEO Michael Christman describes it as “the next generation of leaders.”

Christman says competitions like this bring out the best in a young mind.

“It’s very impressive, and it’s really inspiring to see because they really get into it. They’re very creative.”

There are a dozen categories ranging from biochemistry to zoology. Delran high school student Thomas O’Donnell took first place in the behavioral and social sciences category for his findings on distracted driving:

“Drivers who are texting and driving, they take 60-percent longer to react to a red light,” he explains.

This is a problem that has affected him personally.

“Last year when I was driving to school, someone hit the back of our car because they were texting and not paying attention,” says O’Donnell.

He hopes to continue researching the subject and he’ll have the chance to showcase his work again in a couple of weeks at the Delaware Valley Science Fair in Oaks, Pa.

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