Local Students Among 40 Science Talent Finalists

Local Students Among 40 Science Talent Finalists

Two local students are among the top 40 finalists in this year’s Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest science and math competition for high school seniors.

Arav Bhargava attends The Potomac School in McLean, Va. His project title is “Low-Cost, 3D-Printed, Universal-Fit, Transradial Socket for Amputees in Developing Countries.”

David Lu Cao attends Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, in Fairfax County. His project title is “The Implications of ‘Oumuamua on Panspermia.”

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) and Society for Science made the announcements.

The competition, now in its 83rd year, has consistently identified young innovators who combine their STEM talent with dedication and leadership skills to drive society forward. Program alumni include recipients of the world’s most coveted science and math honors, including 13 Nobel Prizes and 21 MacArthur Foundation Fellowships, as well as the founders of many important science-based companies, including Regeneron.

The 2024 finalists’ research projects showcase their breadth of knowledge, their commitment to addressing issues important to modern society, and their passion for science. Multiple students chose to explore research topics such as brain disorders, suicide risk and anxiety. Some students invented accessibility devices, including a robotic arm socket design, glasses for the visually impaired and a column-climbing robot. Other finalists dove into their local environments, studying honeybees and colony collapse disorder as well as prevention of the invasive lantern fly.

“Every year, the Regeneron Science Talent Search helps inspire and engage a new wave of talented young scientists with the potential to improve the world,” said George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Founder, Board Co-Chair, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron and a winner in the 1976 STS. “As someone who got my start in this very competition, I know firsthand how the Science Talent Search experience can help jumpstart students’ future academic and career journeys.”

The finalists were chosen based on their projects’ scientific rigor and their potential to become world-changing scientists and leaders. They were selected from 300 scholars, announced earlier this month by Regeneron and the Society for Science. The scholars were chosen from 2,162 qualified entrants, the largest pool of applicants the competition has seen since the 1960s. Each student completed an original research project and extensive application process.

Finalists will participate in a week-long competition from March 6-13, 2024, where they will undergo a rigorous judging process and compete for more than $1.8 million in awards. They will also have an opportunity to interact with leading scientists and share research with the public on March 10, both in person and virtually. The top 10 Regeneron Science Talent Search 2024 winners will be announced during an awards ceremony on March 12, streamed live from Washington D.C.

In total, more than $3 million in awards will be distributed throughout the Regeneron Science Talent Search. Each finalist is awarded at least $25,000, with the top 10 awards ranging from $40,000 to $250,000. Finalists may use their award prize money solely for educational purposes. 

The top 300 scholars, each of whom receive $2,000, may use their awards as they see fit; each of their schools are also awarded $2,000 to support math and science programs, a critical investment toward their future in STEM, and our country’s future as a hub of innovation and progress.

For a list of this year’s finalists, visit https://societyforscience.org/blog/top-40-selected-in-regeneron-science-talent-search-2024


Local Students Among 300 Science Talent Scholars

Kunal Samir Bham, Age: 18
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, VA
Project Title: Discovering Hidden Pathways: A Network-Centric Approach Reveals Novel Pathways Impacted by Prader-Willi Syndrome

Chelsea Hu, Age: 17
BASIS Independent McLean, VA
Project Title: Silk Fibroin Microspheres: An Innovative Approach To Improve Drug Delivery to the Lungs for the Treatment of Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome (NRDS)

Seoyoung Jun, Age: 18
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, VA
Project Title: Integrated Assistive Technology for the Visually Impaired – Implementation of a 3D Scanner With a Tactile Display and Machine Learning in Obstacle Identification

Rohan Kalahasty, Age: 18
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, VA
Project Title: Hybrid Plasticity: Adaptive, Brain-Like Artificial Intelligence via Prefrontal Cortex-Inspired Meta-Learning

Ryan Jisup Kim, Age: 17
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, VA
Project Title: Hybrid Quantum-Classical Machine Learning for Dementia Detection

Kiran C. Myneni, Age: 17
James Madison High School, VA
Project Title: Public Health Strategies for Disease Mitigation in the SIR Model

Max Zeldes, Age: 17
The Potomac School, VA
Project Title: Improvement to Electroencephalography-Based Imagined Speech Brain-Computer Interfaces Using a Targeted, Dense Array of Electrodes With Scalp Current Density Calculations

William Zhang, Age: 17

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

Project Title: Synchronization-Free Light Sheet Microscopy for 3-Dimensional Tissue Imaging

Brian Lee Zhou, Age: 17
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, VA
Project Title: Novel Data-Driven and Constraint-Guided Deep Learning Models Optimize a Multi-Objective Flapping Fin Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Control System