Interlake High School’s Eshika Saxena recently received 10th place in Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest science and math competition for high school seniors.
Each year, about 2,000 student entrants submit original research in critically important scientific fields of study and are judged by leading experts in their fields. Unique among high school competitions in the U.S. and around the world, the Regeneron Science Talent Search focuses on identifying, inspiring and engaging the nation’s young scientists who are creating the ideas that could solve society’s most urgent challenges.
As the 10th place winner, Saxena received a $40,000 award for her project. She designed a 3D-printed smartphone attachment that enables the camera to capture microscopic images of blood samples. That was possible using an artificial intelligence program, which she designed, which she then analyzed and matched to blood diseases in her custom 7,000-image database for rapid identification.
Her product can screen for sickle cell disease with as much as 95-percent accuracy.
Saxena said she’s been interested in math and science since a young age, participating in science fairs and competitions.
Her current project was inspired by a previous project she did during middle school, which brought her to the semi-finals for the Broadcom MASTERS in 2015. Her project involved harvesting energy from the human body to power wearable electronic, medical and fitness devices.
For her current project, Saxena said she’s been developing it since the summer of 2017.
“I had so much fun developing it,” she said. “It’s exciting to use STEM to solve real-world problems.”
During the competition, she said she enjoyed displaying her research and meeting the other contestants.
“It was such an amazing experience. I liked making new friends and seeing their amazing projects,” she said.
The remaining 30 finalists each received $25,000. Those students will join the ranks of Science Talent Search alumni to potentially start successful biotechnology and technology companies, and to change the world through groundbreaking inventions. In total, Regeneron awarded $3.1 million in prizes through the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2019, including $2,000 to each of the top 300 scholars and their schools.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this year’s Regeneron Science Talent Search top winners, who are already leading the way in scientific research and innovation,” Maya Ajmera, president and CEO of Society for Science & the Public, said in a release. “Their talent, dedication and desire to make a difference in the world is commendable.”
For Saxena, she said seeing her and the other students’ hard work pay off was especially rewarding.
“Seeing the research come to life and seeing the impact it can have is amazing,” she said.