It was a great week for Mayuri Sridhar, the 17-year-old Kings Park High School student who became a finalist in the Intel Science Talent Search.
Sridhar, who traveled this week to Washington D.C, may not have been a top prize winner, but had the experience of a lifetime.
"It was a great week," said Sridhar, in an interview with Newsday. She said she even got to shake hands with President Barack Obama.
The top prize winners were announced on Tuesday night in the nation's capital. Forty finalists were chosen, seven from New York and two from Long Island; Sridhar and St. James' Michael Zhang. The top prize of $100,000 went to Sara Volz, 17, of Colorado Springs, Colo., for research into algae biofuels.
“We want students like these to be just as celebrated as are the star athletes and entertainers in their schools," said Wendy Hawkins, the executive director for the Intel Foundation in a story earlier this week by the New York Times.
Saying Sridhar's project is impressive would be an understatement. She competed a study of a protein that plays a role in tumor suppression by running a simulation on a super computer in Tenessee. Mayuri gave New York Times reporter Ethan Hauser a tour of the lab in Stony Brook where she dialed up the computer simulation leaving Hauser "quickly baffled by everything."
The competition is not limited to the project, but also includes a 15 minute interview by the judges where participants might be asked to diagram a plant cell or predict the future of the newspaper industry, according to the Times article.
The future for Sridhar, as for all of the Intel finalists, looks bright. According to the New York Times, since the science competition’s inception in 1942, as the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, seven of its alumni have won Nobel Prizes and 11 have received MacArthur “genius” awards.
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