Silver Spring high school students win $25,000 for college in science contest


A computer science project on swarming robots earned 17-year-old Grace Cai $25,000 for college.

The Montgomery Blair High School senior is one of three finalists at her school and 40 across the country in the Regeneron Science Talent Search.

“It shows that high schoolers also do research that actually has an impact on the world and encourages people to actually do research from a young age,” Cai said.

Allie Stifel of the Society for Science in the Public told ABC7 News, “These students are doing really amazing things at the graduate level and they are publishing research, they have patents, they’re truly amazing individuals.”

18-year-old Kevin Qian is also a senior at Blair and a 2019 Regeneron finalist. “It encourages you to do more research in the future by recognizing what you’ve done is worth something,” Qian said.

In March all of the finalists will meet in D.C. to compete for scholarships worth up to $250,000.

“We’re really looking to find scientific leadership. People who will be innovators and really change the game in this country in so many disciplines,” Stifel said.

The science and math competition is designed to engage and inspire the next generation of scientific leaders like 17-year-old Daniel Schaffer. “This is a project I’ve been working on for a long time so it’s kind of a validation of my research. Someone other than me thinks it’s important so it’s cool,” said the Blair senior.

Ana Humphrey of T.C. Williams High School, Adam Ardeishar of Thomas Jefferson High, and Carolyn Beaumont of the Potomac School were also chosen as finalists in this year’s competition.

The Regeneron Science Talent Search is produced by the Society for Science in the Public. This year’s top 10 winners will be announced on March 12.

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