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Fairfield County HS Students Named Regeneron Science Talent Search 2020 Semifinalists

Fairfield County residents have been named as semifinalists in the prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search.
Fairfield County residents have been named as semifinalists in the prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search. Photo Credit: Society for Science

Seven Fairfield County high school students were among the 300 that were chosen as semifinalists at this year’s prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search.

This year, approximately 2,000 students entered the Regeneron STS, where they “submit original research in critically important scientific fields of study.” The organization said that the search is “unique among high school competitions in the U.S. and globally, Regeneron STS focuses on identifying, inspiring, and engaging the nation's most promising young scientists.”

Of the nearly 2,000 students that submitted research projects, judges narrowed the field to just 300, based on their research skills, commitment to education, innovate thinking and prospects as a scientist.

The seven Fairfield County students selected received $2,000 as well as their schools. From the pool of semifinalists, 40 will be chosen as finalists and invited to Washington, D.C in March for their final judgment. The finalists will be awarded at least $25,000 and the top 10 will earn between $40,000 and $250,000.

According to the judges, in 2017, Regeneron became only the third sponsor of the Science Talent Search, increasing the overall awards distribution to better reward the best and brightest young minds.

“Through its 10-year, $100 million commitment, Regeneron nearly doubled the overall award distribution to $3.1 million annually, increasing the top award to $250,000 and doubling the awards for the top 300 scholars and their schools to $2,000 each to inspire more young people to engage in science.

“We are inspired by the incredible energy and passion of every scholar who is using research to make the world a better place,” Maya Ajmera, President and CEO of Society for Science & the Public, Publisher of Science News and 1985 Science Talent Search alum, said. “These young students will be the key to unlocking solutions to many of our world’s most pressing challenges.”

This year's local Regeneron scholar semifinalists and their research projects include:

Greenwich:

  • Caroline Badagliacca, Convent of the Sacred Heart: “Music and Memory: The Ideal Dosage of Music for Improved Cognition and Quality of Life in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia;”
  • Cynthia Chen, Greenwich High School: “A Green Nanotechnological Approach for Energy Efficiency and Conservation: Tungsten-doped Vanadium Dioxide Thermochromic Smart Windows;”
  • Hiba Hussain, Greenwich High School: “Non-invasive, Low-Cost Diagnosis of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) via Smartphone Breath Analysis;”
  • Raina Jain, Greenwich High School: “Control of Varroa destructor Infestation with a Dual-Function Thymol Emitting Honey Bee Hive Entranceway;”
  • Justin Speaker, Greenwich High School: “Design of a Riboflavin-Enhanced Ultraviolet Contact Lens Disinfection System.”

New Canaan:

  • Anna Thérèse Mehra, New Canaan High School: “Structural basis for FGF4 subfamily member’s  receptor-binding specificity and novel dimerization mechanism;”
  • Theodore Nelson, New Canaan High School: “Transcriptome Comparisons of Placental Hofbauer Cells and Other Macrophages.”

“Congratulations to all 300 scholars from this year’s Regeneron Science Talent Search and welcome to a network of exceptional student leaders and innovators,” Hala Mirza, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Citizenship at Regeneron added. “We are thrilled to recognize and honor these students for the many contributions they are making to the STEM community and our broader society. With such a wide array of interests and high-quality work, we are eager to follow their progress in the years to come.”

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