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3 Valley high school seniors each win $2,000 in prestigious science contest

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX – Three Phoenix-area high school seniors, including two from the same school, won $2,000 for advancing in a prestigious national science and math competition and are in the running for a top prize of $250,000.

Samihan Dani and Mindy Long of Hamilton High School in Chandler and Saaketh Narayan of BASIS Scottsdale were among 300 students named as scholars in the 2019 Regeneron Science Talent Search.

Students from Hamilton and BASIS Scottsdale also reached the scholar level of the 2018 competition.

This year’s contest started with nearly 2,000 entrants from more than 600 schools.

Dani’s project is described as “enabling ammonia as a nitrogen source for sustainable microalgal cultivation at alkaline pH levels.”

Long’s is “a smartphone-based, point-of-care iron sensor utilizing colorimetric techniques.”

Narayan’s studies the “impact of crystal orientation and dopant concentration on native silicon oxides.”

In addition to the individual prizes, the students’ schools will be awarded $2,000 per scholar.

Those reaching the scholar level are in the running to be one of 40 finalists who will compete in Washington, D.C., in March. The finalists will be named Jan. 23.

Finalists will be awarded at least $25,000 each, and the top 10 awards range from $40,000 to $250,000.

In 2017, biotechnology company Regeneron made a 10-year, $10 million commitment to the annual contest, which is produced by the Society for Science & the Public and debuted in 1942.

Past competitors include Regeneron co-founders George Yancopoulos (1976) and Len Schleifer (1970), Birchbox cosmetics service founder Hayley Bay Barna (2001) and Feng Zhang (2000), a pioneer in the gene editing technology called CRISPR.

Science Talent Search alumni have won 13 Nobel Prizes.

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