Seniors named Intel research semifinalists

Zoe Dutton

The Society for Science and the Public named Divya Siddarth ’14 and Megha Srivastava ’14 as semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent search, one of the most prestigious pre-college science competitions in the country.

Siddarth and Srivastava  will each win a $1,000 scholarship for their original research that they conducted over the summer.

“I entered the competition just so I could have an excuse to write the paper,” Srivastava said. “Winning is just a cool bonus.”

Srivastava interned at the UCLA California Nano Systems Institute and developed a new pH sensor for doctors to check the safety of their medications, enabling hospitals located in rural areas to use the same medication as those in urban centers without having to transport chemicals to a laboratory for testing. Siddarth studied how to stop tumor growth through protein interactions at the City of Hope hospital.

“I’m really thrilled at the award, but more exciting is the opportunity I had to do this incredible research,” Siddarth said. “I learned so much this summer, and it gave me direction with what I want to do with my life.”

They said they hoped to do more research in the future.

“I might work in the same lab, but I’m interested in computer science and chemistry, so I might just do something different next year,” Srivastava said. “But I’m definitely going to continue with some sort of research.”

From the 300 semifinalists that were recognized nationally, 40 will be invited in March to Washington, D.C. to display their work, meet with scientists and vie for the first place prize of $100,000.

Students were selected from 1,794 entrants from 489 high schools across the country.