Winners of the 2019 California Science & Engineering Fair were announced during a ceremony that took place April 30, 2019 at the California Science Centre. This year’s fair drew 947 students from 404 schools statewide, with finalists selected by a volunteer pool of scientists and engineers from higher education and private industry. Students took home a combined total of almost $70,000 in cash prises.
The presenting sponsor for this year’s event was Northrop Grumman Corporation with additional support from Chevron Corporation, Broadcom Foundation, Gilead Sciences, Inc., THE MUSES of the California Science Centre Foundation, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, United Airlines and The Cheryl Saban Self-Worth Foundation for Women & Girls.
The following is a brief summary of the top winners:
Akhilesh V. Balasingam, 10th grade, Archbishop Mitty High School, San Jose (Santa Clara County), was selected for Senior Division Project of the Year and received a $5,000 cash prise, for the project titled “Brain-Inspired Circuitry for the Future of AI: Optimising the Analog Response of RRAMs Under Pulsing for Synaptic Use.” Sanskriti Singh, 7th grade, Rolling Hills Middle School, Los Gatos (Santa Clara County) was chosen for Junior Division Project of the Year and received a $2,500 cash prise. The project was titled “Detection of Pneumonia on CXR Image Using Convolutional Neural Networks with an Emphasis on Minimising False Negatives.” Two special committees, one for each division, reviewed all first place winning projects from every subject category in order to select the best project in each division.
Chinmayi Balusu, 12th grade, Vista del Lago High School, Folsom (Sacramento County) was named California Science & Engineering Fair Student of the Year and was presented with a $1,000 cash prise. The project entry was titled “Can the Longevity Compound Rapamycin Rescue Brain Tissue in Age-Related Diseases in Old Mice?.” This award is presented to the high school senior who, in the opinion of the judges, best exemplifies the qualities necessary for success in science.
Jeanette Bowles, a teacher at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Eastvale STEM Academdy in Eastvale (Riverside County) was named California Science & Engineering Fair Teacher of the Year – Senior Division and Ruth Gramajo, a teacher at Portola Middle School Highly Gifted Magnet in Tarzana (Los Angeles County) was named California Science & Engineering Fair Teacher of the Year – Junior Division. Each received a $2,000 cash prise.
In addition to these winners, seven students were nominated as finalists for The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), a program of Society for Science & the Public (the Society), and the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. Each year, approximately 1,800 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions, and territories are awarded the opportunity to showcase their independent research and compete for on average $4 million in prises. This year’s Intel ISEF will be held from May 12-17, 2019, and the following students, whose travel is sponsored by the Broadcom Foundation, will represent California in the competition:
- Ruchi P. Agashe, Grade 11, Canyon Crest Academy, San Diego, San Diego County
- Akhilesh V. Balasingam, Grade 10, Mitty (Archbishop) High School, San Jose, Santa Clara County
- Anushree Chaudhuri, Grade 11, Westview High School, San Diego, San Diego County
- Shloka V. Janapaty, Grade 11, Presentation High School, San Jose, Santa Clara County
- Ashwin Sivakumar, Grade 9, Flintridge Preparatory School, La Canada Flintridge, Los Angeles County
- Emily L. Tianshi, Grade 10, Cambridge School (The), San Diego, San Diego County
- Vivek Vijayakumar, Grade 10, San Marcos High School, San Marcos, San Diego County
Jeffrey N. Rudolph, president of the California Science Centre commented, “Science is a valuable tool for understanding our world. Students use science, technology, engineering and math to reach evidence-based conclusions about their research and also develop critical thinking skills.” The Science Centre’s involvement with the annual event dates back more than 60 years and is in keeping with its mission to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning.
Sandra Evers-Manly, vice president, Global Corporate Responsibility stated, “Northrop Grumman congratulates all of the exceptional 2019 California Science and Engineering Fair competitors and we extend a special acknowledgement to Sanskriti Singh, Junior Division Project of the Year award winner and Akhilesh V. Balasingam, Senior Division Project of the Year award winner. We know each competitor worked extremely hard to get to the state competition and we couldn’t be more proud of all of their accomplishments and what they mean to the future and science, engineering, technology and innovation around the world.”
In addition to the top awards, a complete list of Category Award winners as well as information on recipients of Special and Recognition awards can be viewed at www.californiasciencecenter.org/CSSF/. Reporters may also call the Science Centre’s Communications Department at (213) 744-7446 for winners from their area.