L to R: Tim Anglin (NCSSM-Durham chemistry instructor), Dhairya Agarwal, Abhinav Meduri, Nikhil Vemuri, Siddharth Maruvada, Maya Ajmera (Society for Science President and CEO and NCSSM-Durham Class of 1985), Amy Okonkwo, Bianca Chan, Lara Dincer, Maruthi Vemula, and Davin Tipton.


Uni, Dragon pride on display at Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair

Nine Residential students from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics – Bianca Chan and Lara Dincer from NCSSM-Morganton, and Dhairya Agarwal, Siddharth Maruvada, Abhinav Meduri, Amy Okonkwo, Davin Tipton, Maruthi Vemula, and Nikhil Vemuri from NCSSM-Durham – are competing against 1,700 student finalists from 67 countries and territories in the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) currently underway (May 11-17) in Los Angeles. Almost $9 million in awards, prizes and scholarships will be distributed.

Owned and administered by the non-profit Society for Science, ISEF is the world’s largest pre-college STEM competition, providing ninth- through twelfth-grade students from around the world with the opportunity to showcase their projects through a series of Society-affiliated regional and state fairs. In addition to interviews with competition judges, the weeklong final round event on the West Coast includes a number of symposia and panels where students get the opportunity to explore STEM careers, hear from noted STEM professionals, and engage with their fellow competitors.

Lara Dincer, a Morganton student who worked with NCSSM-Morganton’s science department chair Jennifer Williams, expressed her appreciation for the experience. “I’m grateful for Mrs. Williams and the RBio class for making this possible and I’m excited to share my Research in Biology project with the judges,” Lara said. “It’s also been very cool to hear from other students around the world about their research.”

The nine NCSSM students who advanced as Grand Award winners to the final round of competition in L.A. were among 24 NCSSM Residential students who competed previously at either the regional NC Science and Engineering Fair held at NCSSM-Durham, or the statewide NC Science and Engineering Fair held at North Carolina State University. Nine other students from schools throughout North Carolina joined NCSSM’s finalists in Los Angeles.

On Thursday, May 16, hundreds of students will receive Special Awards during an evening event. These awards include scholarships, internships and other prizes from organizations representing a wide variety of scientific disciplines. Grand Award winners in each of the competition’s 22 categories will be announced the following morning, May 17, followed by the announcement of Top Awards. Both Grand and Top awards are cash prizes.

Tim Anglin, a chemistry instructor at NCSSM-Durham, is with the students in L.A. “I am incredibly proud of these young researchers for the amazing work that they’ve done and excited for them to have the chance to share what they’ve learned with the public and the judges here at ISEF,” he says. “This is truly a world stage and these students make NCSSM proud!”

Society for Science, which owns and administers the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair, is led by Maya Ajmera, NCSSM-Durham Class of 1985. In addition to serving as the Society’s President and CEO, she also serves as the Executive Publisher of its award-winning magazine, Science News.