Two Indian Americans win Top Prizes at Intel ISEF 2018 Competition

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Meghana Bollimpalli, Oliver Nicholls, and Dhruvik Parikh won the top awards at the Intel ISEF 2018. PHOTO COURTESY OF SOCIETY FOR SCIENCE & THE PUBLIC/CHRIS AYERS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Indian American students Meghana Bollimpalli and Dhruvik Parikh have won top prizes at the annual Intel International Science and Engineering Fair held on May 18, along with winning an overall prize of $50,000.

Bollimpalli is from Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas and she won the Young Scientist Award for her project, “Green Synthesis of Phosphorous, Nitrogen Co-Doped Carbon Materials from Renewable Resources for Supercapacitor Applications via Microwave Assisted Technique.”

According to a press release, Bollimpalli found that if she combined common substances like tea and molasses with nitrogen and phosphorus in a commercial microwave, then they would form a powder that could be used as a coating for electrode-like materials, which will give them similar properties of more expensive metals like platinum.

Parikh is from Henry M. Jackson High School in Washington and he won the Young Scientist Award for his project, “A Novel Sol-Gel Derived SPEEK/Silicon Dioxide Composite Membrane for the Vanadium Redox Flow Battery.”

According to a press release, Parikh’s composite membrane has 10 times the proton conductivity of the industry’s standard membrane and it reduces production costs by about 30 percent.

This year, Intel ISEF had an Indo-U.S. Science & Technology Visit to India Award which was given to Anna Spektor and Ayman Isahaku from Nicolet High School in Wisconsin, as well as Ronak Roy of Canyon Crest Academy in California.

All three of them will showcase their research projects at the National Fair of India – Initiative in Research and Innovation in Science and will also get an opportunity to visit research institutions and universities in India as they interact with key scientific leaders.

The ISEF featured a number of categories in which students were named overall winners who received a first place prize of $3,000, a second place prize of $1,500, a third place prize of $1,000 and a fourth place prize of $500 while the top winner won a prize of $5,000.

Bollimpalli won in the Chemistry category, Parikh won in the Energy category and Roy won in the Biomedical Engineering category.

Other top winners in the following categories included:

  • Raina Jain (Connecticut): Environmental Engineering
  • Marissa Sumathipala (Virginia); Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
  • Sathya Edamadaka (New Jersey): Physical Energy
  • Burzin Balsara and Malav Shah (Texas): Embedded Systems

Indian Americans won many other awards as well.

Second prizes went to:

  • Pratham Soni (Michigan): Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence award
  • Parth Raghav (New Delhi): Association for Computing Machinery award
  • Keshav Vedula (Connecticut): Material Science or Engineering award from the Arconic Foundation
  • Gopal Krishna Goel (Oregon) and Rachana Madhukara (California): American Mathematical Society award
  • Nikhil Devanathan (Washington): American Meteorological Society category

Other awardees include:

  • Suraj Modi: third prize – American Psychological Association
  • Himanshi Verma (Florida): second prize – American Physiological Society
  • Anwesha Mukherjee (Oregon): first prize – Acoustical Society of America
  • Sharmi Shah (New Jersey): second prize – Acoustical Society of America

Modi also won third prize in the American Statistical Association category and the Arizona State University awarded Intel ISEF Scholarships to Devrath Iyer, Anusha Bhattacharyya, Shreya Tripathi, Nikita Bharati, Satya Phoenix Alagarsamy, Meghana Avvaru, Bryan Dev Gopal and Sukesh Ram.

Oliver Nicholls won the top prize along with $75,000.