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Jan. 30, 2009

Twelve seniors named Intel Science Talent Search semifinalists

by Emily Hsiao, Online Managing Editor
Twelve Blazers were named semifinalists in the 68th annual Intel Science Talent Search (STS) on Jan. 14, out of a total of 300 semifinalists. The names of the 40 finalists were released on Tuesday, although unlike in previous years, none were from Blair or Maryland. Blair had the second-highest number of semifinalists of any school in the nation, rising from eighth-highest last year. Overall, Maryland had the third-highest number of semifinalists with a total of 21 students, including 17 from Montgomery County, the most from any jurisdiction nationwide with the exception of New York City.

Any student with a research paper can choose to enter the Intel STS. Blair Magnet program students have the option of taking the Senior Research Project (SRP) class during the second semester of their junior year and the first semester of their senior year. During the summer after their junior year, students are expected to conduct research for their projects. During first semester of their senior year, the students write research papers, which can be entered into competitions like Intel STS. Out of the 91 students enrolled in SRP this year, approximately 40 submitted their papers to Intel STS, according to SRP teacher Susan Ragan.


The 300 semifinalists were selected from 1,608 students and come from 36 states, Washington, D.C. and accredited overseas schools in India and South Korea, according to the Intel STS semifinalists press release. Each semifinalist will receive a $1,000 award in scholarship money and each school will receive another $1,000 for every student who is named a semifinalist, intended for the school's science, math and engineering departments and programs.

Ragan expressed her excitement for her students' accomplishments. "I was thrilled about our 12 semifinalists and the well-deserved recognition they received," she said. "I thought it was particularly noteworthy that many of their projects had a strong math or computer science component, showing the importance of the Magnet's interdisciplinary focus."

Semifinalist senior Ansh Johri agreed with Ragan. "I wasn't expecting it for sure, but it felt pretty nice because this is an honor I have wanted to achieve for years," he said. "The Intel application was very tedious…but I'm glad it paid off at the end."

The 40 finalists will receive at least $5,000 each in scholarships and a new laptop, according to the Intel STS finalists press release. In addition, each finalist will receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. in March for one week to compete for the grand prize of $100,000. The results will be announced on March 10.

Blair had seven more semifinalists than last year, equaling the numbers from 2007 and 2006, though Blair had one finalist last year and two in both 2007 and 2006. While none of the seniors were named finalists, Ragan believes that the students should not be discouraged. "Although no one was named a finalist this year, all of the seniors who worked so hard on their projects and their research papers should feel proud of their accomplishments," she said.

Johri expected Blair to be represented in the finals. "I was very surprised about finalists because Montgomery County had 17 semifinalists but none of us made the cutoff," he said. "Being an Intel finalist would be like the cherry on top of the sundae, but I'm still satisfied with just being a semifinalist. That is a huge honor in itself."

Semifinalist senior Jean Fan sums it up for the rest of the semifinalists. "I gave it my best and have no regrets," she said.

Blair's semifinalists
Eric An
Christopher Bodine
Jean Fan
Anton Frolenkov
Edward Gan
Akimitsu Hogge
Ansh Johri
Sneha Kannan
Debattama Sen
Benjamin Shih
Sang Tian
Srinivas Vasudevan

For a full list of finalists and semifinalists, please visit the Intel STS web site.



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  • humm on February 3, 2009 at 8:43 PM
    why only 6 photos. where is that eric an and ben shih
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