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School for Science and Math students shine in Intel competition

Jan. 24, 2013, 10:24 AM

From left, School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt students Meera Patel, Busra Gungor, Abhinav Goyal, Aditya Gudibanda, Jenny Zheng, Zach Anderson and Melissa Guo.

Seven seniors in the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt (SSMV) made it to the semifinalist level in the Intel Science Talent Search 2013.

This is the largest number of semifinalists from the school to be named in the annual research competition for U.S. high school seniors, and it is the largest group from Tennessee.

Of the 10 semifinalists from the state this year, two students — from Brentwood and Collierville — were named finalists earlier this week.

Launched in 2007 as a project of the Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach, SSMV is a joint venture between Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. SSMV students attend accelerated courses and conduct research at Vanderbilt, while keeping up with their public school classes.

The semifinalists won $1,000 prizes. Their public schools will receive matching awards to support excellence in science, math, and/or engineering education.

This year’s semifinalists from SSMV attend two public high schools — Hume-Fogg and Martin Luther King Jr. academic magnet schools. The students, their Vanderbilt faculty mentors and their departments are listed below.

The Hume-Fogg students are:

Zach Anderson, mentored by Jason Valentine, Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering;

Abhinav Goyal, mentored by Qi Zhang, Ph.D., Pharmacology;

Aditya Gudibanda, mentored by Jens Meiler, Ph.D., Chemistry; and

Meera Patel, mentored by Richard Peek, M.D., Medicine/Gastroenterology.

The MLK students are:

Busra Gungor, mentored by Hal Moses, M.D., Cancer Biology;

Melissa Guo, mentored by Nilanjan Sarkar, Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering; and

Jenny Zheng, mentored by David Wasserman, Ph.D., Molecular Physiology & Biophysics.

SSMV is supported in part by a National Institutes of Health NCRR Science Education Partnership Award (grant R25 RR032182), by Vanderbilt University Medical Center and by Metro Nashville Public Schools.

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