Upper St. Clair School District

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March 27, 2017
Kevin Chen
Two students headed to state science competition

Two Upper St. Clair High School students recently earned first place finishes at the regional Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science competition at Duquesne University – advancing to the state level competition.

Junior Kevin Chen earned a perfect score for his presentation and won the Directors’ Award in the computer science category for his project titled, “Deep Learning Models of Transcription Factor Binding.”

“I used deep learning models, which are a specific type of machine learning algorithm, to identify regions of DNA where regulatory proteins bind,” Kevin said. “These regions could highlight important disease mechanisms and pathways.”

In addition to earning a first place finish, sophomore Tanvika Sriram won special awards from the University of Pittsburgh Center for Energy and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Engineering Outreach Award. Her project is titled, “Clean Energy Using Bladeless Wind Turbine.”

Tanvika Sriram  “Using piezoelectricity, I was able to generate electricity with a prototype of a bladeless wind turbine,” Tanvika said. “This turbine has the potential to be installed in remote rural areas around the world and improve the quality of life for the people.”
In addition to Kevin and Tanvika, junior Josh Meyer earned a second place score in the regional science competition for his project, “The Effects of Caffeine on Planaria.”

Students do not compete against each other, but rather their experiments and presentations are judged against a criteria-based rubric. Students earning a first place award are invited to present their experiment at the state competition May 14-16, 2017, at The Pennsylvania State University in State College.

PJAS is a statewide organization of junior and senior high school students designed to stimulate and promote interest in science among its members through the development of research projects and investigations. For more information visit www.pjas.net.