San Diego students win scholarships in tech contest

January 27, 2018 by  

Three San Diego high school students teamed up recently to win the Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology.

The students – Kevin Ren, Rachana Madhukara, and Anlin Zhang – won a $25,000 scholarship in recognition of their work in applied mathematics. There were more than 2,000 applicants to the contest who entered 1,800 projects. The contest, which encourages students to devise research projects, either as teams or individually, is the premier scientific research event for high schoolers in the country.

Scholarships valued at more than $100,000 were awarded by the Siemens Foundation in 2017. Of all the applicants, only 21 competed in the National Finals in Washington, D.C., and the three San Diego students won. Before competing at the national level, the three won at the regional level as well, sharing a $6,000 scholarship they received from that contest, which was held at the California Institute of Technology.

The trio’s project is called ‘Epidemic Dynamics on Symmetric Networks’. The three, who were mentored by Dr. Laura Schaposnik of the University of Illinois at Chicago, used mathematical models to help them better determine and analyze the way infectious diseases spread. The developed the model after recognizing the important role social groups, such as families and cities, play in the disease process. Projects like this give public health officials additional tools to handle global disease spread.

Work like this has such potential importance, school officials might like to create brochures that contain further information about the project.