8 Regeneron STS finalists are making a difference in their communities - Society for Science Skip to content

8 Regeneron STS finalists are making a difference in their communities

By Kevin Easterly

Grant Wang presents his work with his nonprofit, ADG Voice, Inc.
Grant Wang, founder of the nonprofit ADG Voice, is one of many Regeneron STS finalists who have started their own organizations.

It goes without saying that the 2024 Regeneron Science Talent Search finalists are all accomplished student scientists. However, their impact extends far beyond the lab. From founding nonprofits to starting clubs and initiatives in their schools, here are just a few ways this year’s finalists are creating organizations that connect and serve their communities.

Aditi Avinash
Rock Canyon High School (Highlands Ranch, Colorado)

During the pandemic, Aditi was struck by the communication gaps that seemed to exist between scientists and the public. That’s why she founded her blog, Stepping Stone to STEM. From topics ranging from biofuels to DNA to black holes, Aditi collaborates with fellow writers on a shared mission to demystify complex scientific concepts and make them more accessible to everyone.

Image with the title of Aditi's blog: Stepping Stone to STEM
Aditi’s blog, Stepping Stone to STEM, aims to make complex scientific ideas easier to understand for everyone.

David Cao
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (Alexandria, Virginia)

David co-founded his school’s Computational Physics Club with the goal of creating opportunities for fellow students to learn about the interdisciplinary aspects of physics. The club, now thriving with over 100 members, explores the exciting intersections of computer science and physics, delving into their applications in fields such as aerodynamics and quantum computing.

2024 Science Talent Search finalist David Lu Cao
David founded his school’s Computational Physics Club.


Sophie Chen
Caddo Parish Magnet High School (Shreveport, Louisiana)

Sophie is the founder of SHECAN, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing girls in underserved communities with access to computer science and engineering resources. “I wanted to bridge the gender gap in my community,” said Sophie. “I wanted young girls to have the chance to explore traditionally male-dominated fields, regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds.”

Sophie stands in front of a large whiteboard covered end to end in math equations.
Sophie’s nonprofit, SHECAN, is working to bridge gender gaps in STEM.

Thomas Cong
Ossining High School (Ossining, New York)

Inspired by clubs representing students of various backgrounds, Thomas co-founded the Ossining Asian Cultural Exchange. With goals of amplifying the voices of Asian students, building a more inclusive community and creating a venue to educate one another about their diverse cultures, the club brings people together and facilitates dialogue though a wide range of events and activities.

Sophie Gao
Hunter College High School (New York, New York)

Sophie is a founding member of Students Teach Areas of Science, a club which provides science education programs to underserved populations in New York City. “Science is meant for the benefit of all of us,” said Sophie. “I was drawn to this venture because of my belief in how science connects with society and my interest in promoting access to science education.”

Amanrai Singh Kahlon
Sanford School (Hockessin, Delaware)

Rai is the president of Apollo: Youth in Medicine, a student-run nonprofit dedicated to connecting students with tangible, real-world experiences in the field of medicine. In coordination with the Medical Society of Delaware, Apollo coordinates physician shadowing opportunities for high school students, leads AED and CPR training, and hosts speaker series. Founded in 2018, the organization has successfully expanded its network to reach students across the state of Delaware.

Grant Wang
Williamsville East High School (East Amherst, New York)

Grant founded ADG Voice, Inc., an international NGO committed to supporting refugees through volunteering, fundraising and raising awareness. “I founded this organization because I strongly believe that we should help uphold refugees’ human rights and dignity,” said Grant. “With support, refugees can bring incredibly diverse ideas and perspectives to their new communities.

Julianne Wu
University High School (Irvine, California)       

Julianne co-founded NextGen, an international organization whose mission is to empower young students to become leaders and make positive contributions in their communities. Among its wide range of initiatives, NextGen has recruited and mentored students in Panama, Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras, while also providing backpacks and school supplies to thousands of students.

Learn more about all of the finalists on this page on our website. Stay tuned and bookmark the link to watch the awards ceremony livestream at 8 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, March 12, when we will announce the winner of the $250,000 top award. 

Kevin Easterly