MCPS Has Most Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalists in Nation

January 13, 2011
Since 1999, Montgomery Blair has produced more semifinalists than any high school in America

  Fifteen Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students have been selected as semifinalists for the 2011 Intel Science Talent Search, the most semifinalists to come from any school district in the nation this year.

  The Intel Science Talent Search is one of the most prestigious pre-collegiate science competitions in the nation. The 15 students from MCPS represent most of Maryland’s 22 semifinalists in the competition, which is administered by the Society for Science & the Public, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to public engagement in scientific research and education.
  The semifinalists are students at five MCPS high schools: Montgomery Blair, Poolesville, Richard Montgomery, Walter Johnson and Winston Churchill. In fact, since 1999, Montgomery Blair has produced 149 semifinalists in the competition—more than any other high school in America, according to data from the Society for Science & the Public.

  Each semifinalist will receive $1,000 for his or her original scientific research, and each high school will receive $1,000 for each semifinalist named. Those awards will be used to further excellence in science, math and engineering education at the recipient schools.

  “This is an extraordinary achievement for our students, who, once again, have proven to be among the best and brightest in the nation,” said Christopher S. Barclay, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education. “This is also tremendous recognition for our school staff who work tirelessly every day to deliver top-notch math and science instruction to our students.”

  The 300 semifinalists nationwide were selected from a pool of 1,744 entrants representing 499 high schools in 42 states. Forty finalists will be chosen on January 26 to compete this spring in Washington, D.C., for the top prize of $100,000. The competition’s top winners will be announced on March 15.

  Among the original research topics the MCPS semifinalists took on: prostate cancer, HIV, and breast cancer therapy.

  “We are very proud of these semifinalists who are continuing the long history of outstanding performance by MCPS students in this elite, rigorous competition,” said Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools. “They have also demonstrated exceptional academic promise in the original research they have produced for this competition.”

  This year, the 15 MCPS semifinalists are: 

- Raja Ratna Murthy Ayyagari, Poolesville High School
- Wendy Wenyu Cai, Richard Montgomery High School
- Fang Y Cao, Montgomery Blair High School
- Kuo-Kai Chin, Walter Johnson High School
- Andrew Christopher Das Sarma, Montgomery Blair High School
- Pranav Gokhale, Poolesville High School
- Parakh Jain, Poolesville High School
- Ajay Kannan, Montgomery Blair High School
- Nilay Kumar, Montgomery Blair High School
- Annie Lin, Walter Johnson High School
- Winston W. Liu, Montgomery Blair High School
- Sharon Ren-Wei Ong, Winston Churchill High School
- Yinglun Wu, Richard Montgomery High School
- Sandra Chun-Shan Yan, Montgomery Blair High School
- Raina Zheng, Montgomery Blair High School

  For a complete list of semifinalists and the titles of their research projects, visit the Society for Science & Education’s website.

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