Blair has second highest number of semifinalists in competition
Twelve seniors were named semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent Search (STS) competition on Wednesday. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology in Virginia was the only school that had more winners than Blair.
Three hundred semifinalists were selected from the pool of 1,736 entrants, a diverse group that represented 44 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and four overseas schools, according to the Society for Science & the Public web site. Each semifinalist will receive $1,000 in scholarship money. In addition, each school will receive $1,000 per semifinalist to go towards science, math and engineering education departments.
The 40 finalists of the competition will be announced on Jan. 27. The finalists will participate in a conference in Washington, D.C. where they will display their work for further judging and compete for the winning award of $100,000.
About 50 blazers entered the STS competition, according to Elizabeth Duval, who teaches the Senior Research Project (SRP) class of the Magnet program. In this class, students conduct a research project that starts in the second semester of junior year and continues through the first semester of senior year. Duval was proud of the students recognized as semifinalists and all the applicants from Blair. "Any student who dedicated their time outside of the classroom to complete the process deserves an award," she said.
Most semifinalists said that they did not expect to be recognized. "I was really surprised," senior semifinalist Pin-Joe Ko said. "A lot of people that we would have expected to be recognized were not."
The application for the STS competition included a research paper, official transcripts, teacher recommendations, mentor recommendations and a series of essays, according to Duval. For the writing portion, applicants were asked to write about themselves, their area of research and their research experience. "The application process is a very cumbersome process," she said.
Many SRP students benefited from submitting supplements such as recommendations and essays, which are not typically reviewed by judges from other popular science competitions. Senior semifinalist Rohan Puttagunta speculated that he was successful due to STS's emphasis on personality. "I was not exactly sure about how strong my project was by itself… But Intel also looks at you just as much as your research," he said.
While Duval acknowledged that the results are unpredictable, she has high expectations for Blair's performance in the final round of the competition. "Personally I feel like all 12 should be finalists as well, but I am a bit biased," Duval said.
Haozhi (Jeffrey) Lin
For a full list of semifinalists, please visit the Intel STS web site.
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