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High School Senior, Varsha Saravanan, has been named a “Nation’s Top Scientist” in the “Regeneron Science Talent Search 2022!”  The talent search is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.  The 300 scholars and their schools will receive $2,000 each.  Varsha’s project title is “Baseline Framework for Assessing Community Resilience Using a Balanced Index Approach and Spatial Autocorrelation in the Mill River Watershed, Nassau County, New York.”   Project Information provided by her science research teacher, Jocelyn Handley-Pendleton, is as follows:
     Project Title: Baseline Framework for Assessing Community Resilience Using a Balanced Index Approach and Spatial Autocorrelation in the Mill River Watershed, Nassau County, New York
Research Interests:  Sustainability and Community Resilience
Description of Research Progress: I worked with Dr. Sandra Garren at Hofstra University and conducted community resilience research in the Mill River Watershed, a watershed in Southwest Nassau County. I aggregated sub-county level data for 30 different indicators across four categories: economic, social, health, and environmental resilience. This data is converted and processed to create a community resilience index for all 43 communities in the watershed. Each community received an overall resilience score and four categorized resilience scores. I also ran some data analysis tests such as Geospatial and Hot/Cold stop analysis. My research mentor and I were finally able to draw conclusions, analyze trends, and categorize communities into 5 distinct clusters based on geography and resilience level. This research was entered into multiple competitions, presented at focus groups with community stakeholders, and is under review for peer-review publication.

 The “Regeneron Science Talent Search” scholars were selected from 1,804 applications received from 603 high schools across 46 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and eight other countries. Scholars were chosen based on their exceptional research skills, commitment to academics, innovative thinking, and promise as scientists as demonstrated through the submission of their original, independent research projects, essays, and recommendation. The 300 scholars hail from 185 American and international high schools in 37 states, China, Switzerland, and Singapore, including three homeschools.    
     The Regeneron Science Talent Search provides students with a national stage to present original research and celebrates the hard work and novel discoveries of young scientists who are bringing a fresh
perspective to significant global challenges. This year, research projects cover topics from tracking countries’ progress on Sustainable Development Goals to the impact of states’ individual COVID-19 responses and improving the tools used to diagnose Alzheimer’s to analyzing the effects of virtual learning on education.  
     “Amid an unprecedented and ongoing global health crisis, we are incredibly inspired to see such an extraordinary group of young leaders who are using the power of STEM to solve the world’s most intractable challenges,” said Maya Ajmera, President and CEO of Society for Science, Publisher of
Science News and 1985 Science Talent Search alum. “The ingenuity and creativity that each one of these scholars possesses have shown just how much intellectual curiosity and passion can thrive, even in difficult times.”
     “Congratulations to this year’s 300 Regeneron Science Talent Search scholars for their remarkable contributions and discoveries in the STEM field,” said Christina Chan, Senior Vice President, Corporate
Communications & Citizenship at Regeneron.
 “We are honored to celebrate this new generation of problem solvers who have demonstrated the depth of their innovative thinking, commitment to continuous learning, and ability to tackle global challenges in creative ways.”
     On January 20, 40 of the 300 scholars will be named Regeneron Science Talent Search finalists. The finalists will then compete for more than $1.8 million in awards during a week-long competition taking
 place March 10-16.  
       The Regeneron Science Talent Search, a program of the Society for Science since 1942, is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. Each year, nearly
 2,000 student entrants submit original research in critically important scientific fields of study and are judged by leading experts in their fields. Unique among high school competitions in the U.S. and around the world, the Regeneron Science Talent Search
 focuses on identifying, inspiring, and engaging the nation’s most promising young scientists who are creating the ideas that could solve society’s most urgent challenges.
     In 2017, Regeneron became only the third sponsor of the Science Talent Search as a way to help reward and celebrate the best and brightest young minds and encourage them to pursue careers in STEM as a way to positively impact the world. Through its 10-year, $100 million commitment, Regeneron nearly doubled the overall award distribution to $3.1 million annually, increasing the top award to $250,000 and doubling the awards for the top 300 scholars and their schools to $2,000 each to inspire more young people to engage in science.
     Program alumni include recipients of the world’s most coveted science and math honors, including 13 Nobel Prizes, 11 National Medals of Science, six Breakthrough Prizes, 22 MacArthur Foundation Fellowships, and two Fields Medals.
     If you would like to learn more about the Society for Science, click here.  To see a listing of the 2022 scholars, click here.

Congratulations, Varsha!