Four Indian-origin children are among five winners of a premier science and engineering competition for middle school students in the US, with a 14-year-old Indian-origin boy taking the top award.
Akilan Sankaran, 14, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, won the coveted $25,000 Samueli Foundation Prize, the top award in the Broadcom MASTERS, America’s premier science and engineering competition for middle school students.
Akilan Sankaran is the first student with a math project in the competition’s 11-year history to take home the Samueli Foundation Prize, the organization said in a statement.
He wrote a computer program that can calculate “highly divisible numbers,” sometimes called antiprime numbers, that are over 1,000 digits long.
The Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars), a program of the Society for Science, inspires middle school students to follow their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) passions through to exciting college and career paths.
30 finalists, including Akilan Sankaran, took home more than $100,000 in award money.
Camellia Sharma, 14, Henrico, Virginia, won the $ 10,000 STEM Talent Award for demonstrating excellence in science, technology, engineering or math, along with the leadership and technical skills necessary to excel in the 21st Century STEM workforce and build a better community for tomorrow.
Sharma built a 3D-printed aerial drone/boat that can fly to a spot, land on the water and take underwater photos. Her software can then count the fish living there.
Prisha Shroff, 14, Chandler, Arizona, won the $ 10,000 Lemelson Award for Invention, awarded by The Lemelson Foundation to a young inventor who creates a promising solution to a real-world problem.
Shroff developed an AI-based wildfire prevention system that uses satellite and meteorological data to identify fire-prone locations and deploy drones there, the statement said.
Ryka C. Chopra, 13, Fremont, California, won the $ 10,000 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Advancement, which recognizes the student whose work and performance shows the most promise in health-related fields and demonstrates an understanding of the many social factors that affect the health of communities.
She geocoded the locations of fast-food restaurants to see if they are built near populations of obese people, perhaps contributing to the obesity cycle.
Broadcom MASTERS winners were chosen from the 30 finalists selected from 1,841 applicants from 48 states, Washington, D.C. and three U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands).