2024 Regeneron Science Talent Search Media Kit

The Regeneron Science Talent Search (Regeneron STS) is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and mathematics competition. Started in 1942 as the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, the Regeneron STS recognizes and empowers our nation’s most promising young scientists who are developing ideas that could solve society’s most urgent challenges. Each year, nearly 1,900 students enter the Regeneron STS, submitting original research in critically important scientific fields of study. Unique among high school competitions, the Regeneron STS focuses on identifying, inspiring, and engaging the most promising scientists among the nation’s high school seniors.


2024 Science Talent Search Virtual Projects Showcase

We ask that photographs used are credited appropriately:

  • Photos labeled CA or KR: Society for Science/Chris Ayers Photography
  • Photos labeled JY: Society for Science/Jessica Yurinko Photography.
The Top 3 winners of the 2024 Regeneron Science Talent Search: Thomas Cong (2nd place), Achyuta Rajaram (1st place) and Michelle Wei (3rd place)
Society for Science/Chris Ayers Photography

2024 Regeneron Science Talent Search
top award winner photos and videos

STS 2024 - Science Talent Search Finalist Achyuta Rajaram

Achyuta Rajaram, First Place $250,000 award

Project Title: Automatic Discovery of Visual Circuits

Achyuta Rajaram, 17, of Exeter, N.H., developed an automatic method to discover which parts of a
computer model that analyzes images are involved in decision-making. This knowledge may help make
computers more effective, fair, and safe


STS 2024 - Science Talent Search Finalist Thomas Yu-Tong Cong

Thomas Cong, Second Place $175,000 Award

Project Title: Overlooked Covariates in Metabolite Abundance Levels: Systematically Quantifying the Information Overlap Between Gene Expression and Metabolism Across Multiple Cancer Types

Thomas Cong, 17, of Ossining, N.Y., investigated the rapid growth of certain cancers and found that
immune cancers have pronounced differences in metabolism and gene expression, which suggests that
a more complex landscape of metabolic variation exists.


STS 2024 - Science Talent Search Finalist Michelle Wei

Michelle Wei, Third Place $150,000 Award

Project Title: Solving Second-Order Cone Programs Deterministically in Matrix Multiplication Time

Michelle Wei, 17, of Saratoga, Calif., improved second-order cone programming problems, an important
topic in convex programming, which can be used to optimize company supply chains, schedule airline
flights, and distribute electrical power.


STS 2024 - Science Talent Search Finalist Nathan Wei

Nathan Wei, Fourth Place $100,000 Award

Project Title: Novel Elastomeric Polystyrene via Photopolymerization and Post-Functionalization of Durable Ultra-High Molecular Weight Perfluorostyrene Copolymers

Nathan Wei, 17, of Gainesville, Fla., looked at a way to create strong and durable plastic polymers that
can still be recycled. He also suggests a method that works with biologically based raw materials, which
would make the process even more sustainable.


Zeyneb N. Kaya

Zeyneb N. Kaya, Fifth Place $90,000 Award

Project Title: TMADLIBS: A Novel Multilingual Data Augmentation Algorithm for Low-Resource Neural Machine Translation

Zeyneb N. Kaya, 17, of Saratoga, Calif., created a way to train her natural language processing algorithm,
similar to ChatGPT, to work with endangered languages. Importantly, she found a way to enhance the
tiny datasets of lesser-known languages to train her algorithm.


STS 2024 - Science Talent Search Finalist Christopher Zorn

Christopher Zorn, Sixth Place $80,000 Award

Project Title:The Role of MYC in RET Fusion Tumorigenesis and RET Inhibitor Resistance

Christopher Zorn, 17, of Irvington, N.Y., genetically altered lung cancer cell lines, exposed them to
various drugs, and measured the MYC protein levels, which appeared at elevated levels and often led to
treatment resistance. His findings suggest paths for further drug research


STS 2024 - Science Talent Search Finalist Ella Pilacek

Ella Pilacek, Seventh Place $70,000 Award

Project Title: Promoting Attraction of Apis mellifera to the Synthetic Scent of the Endangered Orchid Prosthechea cochleata Using Pavlovian Conditioning and Direct Feeding Paradigms for Conservation

Ella Pilacek, 17, of Winter Springs, Fla., researched ways to teach non-native honeybees how to pollinate
endangered native species of orchids. Ella trained the bees to be attracted to a synthetic version of the
flower’s scent, which seemed to increase attraction to the plant and might help the orchid survive


STS 2024 - Science Talent Search Finalist Selina Zhang

Selina Zhang, Eighth Place $60,000 Award

Project Title: ArTreeficial: A Novel AI-Integrated Solution to Reducing Invasive Spotted Lanternfly Populations

Selina Zhang, 18, of Annandale, N.J., designed and field-tested a solar-powered artificial tree that uses
A.I. to lure, identify, and kill the destructive and invasive spotted lanternfly. Her prototype cost just
under $200 to build.


STS 2024 - Science Talent Search Finalist Arnav N. Chakravarthy

Arnav N. Chakravarthy, Ninth Place $50,000 Award

Project Title: Leveraging Mitochondrial DNA Mutations for Macrophage Lineage Tracing in Primary Human Tissues

Arnav N. Chakravarthy, 18, of Sunnyvale, Calif., found evidence that certain brain cells may be
replenished from our bone marrow even as we grow older. His findings may shed light on future
targeted therapies for age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s.


STS 2024 - Science Talent Search Finalist Alan Bu

Alan Bu, Tenth Place $40,000 Award

Project Title: On the Maximum Number of Spanning Trees in a Planar Graph With a Fixed Number of Edges: A Linear-Algebraic Connection

Alan Bu, 17, of Glenmont, N.Y., gave precise limits on how many spanning trees a planar graph can have.
His key insight was to connect the spanning tree counting problem to a separate problem in linear
algebra, a different field of math, which he could then attack.


STS 2024 - Science Talent Search Finalist Aditi Avinash

Aditi Avinash, Seaborg Award winner

Project Title: Model Validation and Preclinical Testing of Digestive Enzymes for Gluten Breakdown: A Move to Cure Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Disease

Aditi Avinash found a combination of three enzymes effectively break down gluten proteins, which she believes has therapeutic potential for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. She found that combining the enzymes was more effective than giving them sequentially, both in breaking down gluten and in reducing T-cell immune response, potentially leading to new treatments for celiac disease.


Learn about Regeneron STS 2024 Host:
Soledad O'Brien

Media Speaker, Award-Winning Journalist, Entrepreneur and Anchor of the Weekly Syndicated Political Show Matter of Fact

Through the power of storytelling, Soledad O’Brien brings a fresh perspective on diverse and contemporary issues to foster change in your own community or organization.

As the anchor of the Sunday morning syndicated political show, Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, Soledad has established herself as one of the most recognized names in broadcasting by telling the stories behind the most important issues, people and events of the day. A champion of diversity, she gives voice to the underserved and disenfranchised through her Emmy-winning reporting and acclaimed documentary series, Black in America and Latino in America. While also the contributing editor, reporting in-depth news magazine pieces for PBS NewsHour and correspondent for HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. A prominent philanthropist, Soledad is the founder of PowHERful, a foundation that mentors and funds college tuition and expenses for young women.

Soledad OBrien STS presenter 2023 Awards Gala
Photo courtesy of Soledad O'Brien

Interview Maya Ajmera, President & CEO of the Society for Science

We invite you to interview the President & CEO of the Society for Science, Maya Ajmera, to learn more about Regeneron Science Talent Search and this year’s winners. Please email communications@societyforscience.org for assistance.

  • Maya headshot
  • About Maya
  • Quote from Maya about Science Talent Search 2024: “Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Regeneron Science Talent Search,” said Maya Ajmera, President and CEO, Society for Science and Executive Publisher, Science News. “The remarkable intellect and ingenuity of these students serves as an inspiration for us all. Their groundbreaking innovations are vital in uncovering the crucial solutions we need now to address our most intractable challenges.”
President & CEO of the Society for Science, Maya Ajmera
Photo courtesy of Society for Science

George Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder, co-Chair, President and Chief Scientific Officer at Regeneron

We invite you to interview George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., co-Founder, co-Chair, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron to learn more about this year’s winners of the Regeneron Science Talent Search. Please email Joseph Brown at joseph.brown2@regeneron.com for assistance.

  • About George
  • Quote from George about Science Talent Search 2024: “Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Regeneron Science Talent Search and to all the brilliant finalists,” said George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., co-Founder, co-Chair, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron, and a top winner in the 1976 STS. “My own participation in the Science Talent Search during my high school years sparked a lifelong commitment to science and set me on my path of inventing and developing new medicines for previously untreatable diseases. Our finalists are only beginning their journeys, and their extraordinary achievements at such a young age give me hope that they will go on to deliver major innovative breakthroughs that will greatly benefit humanity.” 



George Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., Cofounder, President and Chief Scientific Officer at Regeneron
Photo courtesy of Regeneron