Beaverton students rewarded in an international scientific competition

Three Beaverton students won prizes at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair, including a junior from Westview who took home one of the highest honours.

BEAVERTON, Ore. — Three Beaverton teens received top honors at the world’s largest international science competition for high school students.

More than 1,700 teenagers from around the world came to the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). The big event took place last month in Atlanta. To participate in the ISEF, competitors had to win science competitions at the local, state, regional, or national level. Students had the opportunity to compete in 21 categories.

Rishab Jain, a junior from Westview High School, received one of the competition’s highest accolades, the Young Scientist Award, and also took first place in the field of biomedical engineering.

Jain said his research is in the area of ​​recombinant technology. He explained that scientists often inject a synthetic gene inside a bacterium. This bacterium will then produce a specific drug or vaccine. At its core, the software he created, ICOR, uses artificial intelligence to allow scientists to produce more vaccines in a shorter time.

“Which could help save lives in the face of things like a pandemic or big global health issues,” Jain said. “I was extremely honored and it was really great to have my research recognized in this way.”

Alex Plekhanov was also a competitor and won first place in the physics and astronomy category.

“It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever won. Of course it was a huge rush,” said Plekhanov, 16, a sophomore at the Beaverton Academy of Science and Engineering.

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“My project was specifically for a new optometric device to improve the optometry of astigmatism,” he said.

When people go to the eye doctor, a machine is often used to assess vision, as patients are asked which lens option makes their vision clearer. Plekhanov said his idea would make the process more efficient, enjoyable and accurate.

“Imagine if instead you could move something as simple as a computer mouse or a trackball and find your own point of best vision yourself,” Plekhanov said. He has a patent pending for the idea and has submitted a publication to a peer-reviewed journal.

Nikhil Nayak, a sophomore at Sunset High School, won third place in the robotics and smart machines category. His project aimed to use artificial intelligence to compress audio in a new way.

In addition to recognition on the world stage, Beaverton students have also won between $1,000 and $5,000 depending on the award. Jain, for his Young Scientist award, received a $50,000 scholarship.

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