Top Prospects for Tomorrow’s Labs: National competition yields a dream team of young scientific talent

Twenty young women and 20 young men last week aced an early challenge in their scientific careers. They entered the high school science play-offs—the finals of the annual Intel Science Talent Search.

This year marks the first time in the competition’s 66-year history that female finalists have achieved numerical parity with male ones. Young women accounted for nearly 52 percent of this year’s 1,705 entrants, each of whom submitted a research project in science, math, or engineering.

Judges selected finalists on the basis of their promise as future researchers and on their projects’ originality and scientific merit. In March, the finalists will assemble in Washington, D.C., to compete for top honors and more than half a million dollars in scholarship prizes.

“This competition inspires talented high school students to pursue serious research and submits their work to review that is as rigorous as any they will face as professional scientists,” says Elizabeth Marincola, publisher of Science News and president of Science Service.

Science Service, which runs the competition, and the competition’s sponsor, Intel Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif., announced the finalists on Jan. 31. They are:

Alabama: Marshall Bradley Everett, Shoals Christian School, Florence.

California: Alexandra Maria Courtis, Davis Senior H.S., Davis; Sean Matthew Wahl, Troy H.S., Fullerton; Carol Yoon Joo Suh, Palos Verdes Peninsula H.S., Rolling Hills Estates.

Colorado: Meredith Ann MacGregor, Fairview H.S., Boulder.

Connecticut: Sophie Cai, Ridgefield H.S., Ridgefield.

Illinois: Nora Xu, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Aurora.

Kentucky: Yin Yin Wu, Atherton H.S., Louisville.

Maryland: Emma K. Call, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, Baltimore; Brian Robert Lawrence and Richard Matthew McCutchen, Montgomery Blair H.S., Silver Spring.

Michigan: Sohan Venkat Mikkilineni, Detroit Country Day School, Beverly Hills; Temple Mu He and Siyuan Liu, Troy H.S., Troy.

New Hampshire: Gongmyung Lee, Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter.

New Jersey: Daniel Adam Handlin, High Technology H.S., Lincroft; Megan Marie Blewett, Madison H.S., Madison; Neha Anil Deshpande, South Brunswick H.S., Monmouth Junction.

New York: Daniel Scott Katz, Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway, Cedarhurst; Rebecca Lynn Kaufman, Croton-Harmon H.S., Croton-on-Hudson; Rui Wang, Fairport H.S., Fairport; Abhinav Rohatgi, Garden City H.S., Garden City; Sarah Dana Bayefsky-Anand, The Abraham Joshua Heschel School, New York City; Kathryn Blair Friedman, The Chapin School, New York City; Kaitlin Duncan, Plainedge H.S., North Massapequa; Catherine Schlingheyde, Oyster Bay H.S., Oyster Bay; Hermain Suhail Khan, Staten Island Technical H.S., Staten Island; Oren Brecher, Suffern H.S., Suffern; Jimmy Hom, Syosset H.S., Syosset; Natalie Avella Cameron, Walter Tresper Clarke H.S., Westbury.

North Carolina: John Vincent Pardon, Durham Academy, Durham.

North Dakota: Gregory Drew Brockman, Red River H.S., Grand Forks.

Ohio: Erin Marie Schikowski, Hathaway Brown School, Shaker Heights.

Oklahoma: Mary Masterman, Westmoore H.S., Oklahoma City.

Oregon: Dmitry Vaintrob, South Eugene H.S., Eugene.

Rhode Island: Shu Wan, Classical H.S., Providence.

Texas: Yieu Chyan, Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, Denton; Gabriel Joel Mendoza, Americas H.S., El Paso.

Virginia: Sarah Elizabeth Marzen, Thomas Jefferson H.S. for Science and Technology, Alexandria.

West Virginia: Kelydra Elizabeth Welcker, Parkersburg South H.S., Parkersburg.

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