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FutureStarrStudents Win More Than $1.8 Million at 2023 Regeneron Science Talent Search
At 2023 Regeneron Science Talent Search, thousands of students from around the world submitted their original research in key scientific fields to compete for more than $1.8 million in awards sponsored by Regeneron and Society for Science & the Public.
Lillian Kay Petersen of Los Alamos High School received a quarter million for developing an early harvest prediction tool that could assist food distribution planning and groups working on global food insecurity. Through her research, she devised an affordable, sustainable and successful solution.
Sam Weissman, 17, a senior at Harriton High School in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, earned second place in the esteemed Regeneron Science Talent Search competition. As the winner of $175,000 and an opportunity to compete at the final competition in Washington D.C., Mr Weissman will receive his prize of $175,000 plus travel expenses to attend college there.
Weissman received a total prize package of $1.8 million, which he will use for research into HIV virus cures.
At the age of three, Weissman developed an interest in science after his mother gave him an old biology textbook. He quickly became fascinated with how the immune system functions and its various methods for fighting off viruses, bugs and other germs.
While still in middle school, Weissman had an internship at the University of Pennsylvania under Associate Professor Una O'Doherty's tutelage - she studies influenza viruses.
By the time Weissman entered high school, he was ready to work in real laboratories. There, he studied HIV and how it could persist in the body despite drugs that make curing people of the disease easier.
In his research, Weissman used cutting-edge tools to reconstruct the genome of HIV. He discovered that it has a'reservoir', or compartment, within the body which resists treatment and allows it to remain alive even after being eradicated by antiviral medications.
He plans to continue studying HIV in college, likely working in a lab. His mother, who works for the Department of Health in Philadelphia, hopes that one day Weissman can contribute to curing HIV.
The teenager, who enjoys jazz music, will also play saxophone in the school's jazz band. Additionally, he's part of Harriton High School student government and plays on the varsity basketball team.
In January, Weissman was recognized as a top 300 scholar in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, which awards more than 3.1 million dollars each year. He will compete at the final competition in Washington D.C. in March with an opportunity to win up to $250,000. Excited about being part of such an prestigious national contest since beginning his research under O'Doherty this summer, Weissman has been eagerly awaiting this moment since its announcement.
Lillian Kay Petersen of Los Alamos, New Mexico is one of 40 students nationwide to win more than $1.8 million at 2023 Regeneron Science Talent Search - America's oldest and most renowned math and science competition for high school seniors. Her research project was judged by esteemed scientists.
Petersen, a Los Alamos High School senior, has been developing tools to combat food insecurity worldwide. Her project won first place at the competition and uses daily satellite imagery to forecast crop harvests three to four months ahead of time - potentially helping prevent malnutrition by helping people distribute food more effectively, according to NPR reports.
Petersen described her work in her video, noting how drought in Ethiopia had affected crop yields. To estimate crop health, she created a computer model that can compare colors on satellite images to determine its health; reddish or brownish crops tend to have less green than their greener counterparts, she noted.
She validated her tool on domestic crop data before testing it on countries in Africa, with high accuracy predictions against reported yields. She hopes her tool will assist African governments in optimizing their food distribution plans to prevent malnutrition.
The teenager says her project "helped me comprehend the magnitude of global hunger." Additionally, she is interested in how climate change impacts food production and water management. To this end, she hopes to develop an early warning system for climate change that could aid countries' agricultural industries as they adjust.
Her project evolved out of her experiences collaborating with her adopted siblings who lived in impoverished communities of their native Ethiopia. These individuals suffered from severe malnutrition, and Petersen realized that accurately forecasting crop yields could be beneficial.
In the end, she won first place and will receive $250,000 from Regeneron. Additionally, she plans to attend Harvard University this fall to study applied math and molecular biology with a full scholarship provided by The Cameron Impact Scholarship - awarded annually to 15 high school seniors.
Ellen Xu, 16, is a junior at Del Norte High School in San Diego and an engineering major. For four years she has been engaged in research activities; this culminated in her selection by her faculty as the top student researcher for the 2023 Regeneron Science Talent Search.
She has developed an app that uses deep learning to assist doctors and parents of toddlers in recognising the symptoms of Kawasaki disease. She has presented her findings at both International Kawasaki Disease Symposium in Tokyo and Scripps Research Symposium, among other venues. Furthermore, she is a member of both Kawasaki Disease Foundation and Greater San Diego Science & Engineering Fair.
She enjoys researching, but she also loves writing. In fourth grade, her story about a bird earned her first place in creative writing from the San Diego California Association of Teachers of English. She cherishes the "sense of wonder" that writing can provide and hopes to someday write a novel.
Recently, her essay in The New York Times about her sometimes contentious relationship with her father was published. According to her, writing it allowed her to "be vulnerable" and share a story she hadn't told in some time.
Other students honored included Nicolette Luna, a 16-year-old Bonita Vista High School junior who has become an award-winning journalist. Her work has been showcased by the California College Media Association, San Diego Society of Professional Journalists and Journalism Association of Community Colleges. With this in mind she strives to join a movement among young Latinas working to diversify America's news media and increase representation for underrepresented journalists.
James Hou and Shirley Xu, both seniors at The Bishop School in La Jolla, have been recognized as Regeneron Science Talent Search scholars. Each submitted an original research project, essays and recommendations; their schools received $2,000 per scholar.
Their projects aim to enhance scientific processes and facilitate collaboration between scientists and engineers. Their goal is to use their work for the betterment of humanity in general.
Finally, Reed Ganzer a 16-year-old Poway High junior won the technology award. He has worked to promote robotics education both within his school and community, according to him. Additionally, he serves as assistant coach for their math team and hopes to work in science, technology, engineering or mathematics when he graduates high school.
Seven Greenwich High School students made the list of 300 scholars competing for more than $1.8 million in scholarship money and an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. to present their research projects at the 2023 Regeneron Science Talent Search.
This competition attracted applications from 627 schools across 48 states, D.C., Puerto Rico and four other countries. Out of the 1,949 entrants, 300 finalists were chosen through five criteria: outstanding research, leadership skills, community involvement, creativity in asking scientific questions and exceptional promise as STEM leaders demonstrated through submission of original independent research projects, essays and recommendations.
At Greenwich Public Schools' annual awards gala, officials gave the winners and their families the red carpet treatment. As part of this illustrious occasion, students received some of the award money as well as a brand new Regeneron award mug.
The privilege of announcing the winners of this prestigious competition is an honor and testament to the remarkable talent and dedication Greenwich students demonstrate every day. As one of Connecticut's premier private schools, GHS strives to prepare its students for college and career success through a personalized, holistic education plan that is comprehensive, holistic, and tailored.