For Second Year in a Row, Females Dominate Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2009 in Reno, NV

  • Three young women win top awards at world’s largest pre-college science competition
  • Each received a $50,000 scholarship from the Intel Foundation.

RENO, Nev. – May 15, 2009

The Intel Foundation today announced top winners of the world’s largest pre-college science fair, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), a program of Society for Science & the Public. Tara Adiseshan, 14, of Charlottesville, Va.; Li Boynton, 17, of Houston; and Olivia Schwob, 16, of Boston were selected from 1,563 young scientists from 56 countries, regions and territories for their commitment to innovation and science. 

  • Tara Adiseshan identified and classified the evolutionary relationships between sweat bees and the nematodes (microscopic worms) that live inside them. Tara was able to prove that because the two have such ecologically intimate relationships, they also have an evolutionary relationship. That is to say, if one species evolves, the other will follow.
  • Li Boynton developed a biosensor from bioluminescent bacteria (a living organism that gives off light) to detect the presence of contaminants in public water. Li’s biosensor is cheaper and easier to use than current biosensors, and she hopes it can be used in developing countries to reduce water toxicity.
  • Olivia Schwob isolated a gene that can be used to improve the intelligence of a worm. The results could help us better understand how humans learn and even prevent, treat and cure mental disabilities in the future.

“The real end point of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair is to elevate the recognition of achievement of the younger generation in academic and learning exercises,” said Intel Chairman Craig Barrett. “I hope that more young people will look at these students and realize they can be recognized for using their brains. You don’t have to be a quarterback, a basketball player or a baseball player to be recognized by your peers and the public.”

In addition to the three $50,000 top winners, more than 500 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair participants received scholarships and prizes for their groundbreaking work. Intel awards included 19 “Best of Category” winners who each received a $5,000 Intel scholarship and a new laptop powered by the Intel® Core™2 Duo processor. Intel also awarded a $1,000 grant to the 19 “Best of Category” winners’ schools and the Intel ISEF-affiliated fair they represent. For more information on each of these and other winners, visit

Intel’s commitment to education extends far beyond the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Over the past decade alone, the company has invested more than $1 billion, and its employees have donated more than 2.5 million hours toward improving education in 50 countries. To learn more about the Intel Education Initiative, visit 

Society for Science & the Public (SSP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to public engagement in scientific research and education, owns and has administered the International Science and Engineering Fair since its inception in 1950. Elizabeth Marincola, president of Society for Science & the Public said, “The work of these talented students and the other finalists at the Intel ISEF inspire all of us by their dedication to inquiry-based research. We celebrate the passion and remarkable achievements of Li, Olivia and Tara. We are encouraged by their intelligence, imagination and the depth of their work, and the hope it gives us for the future of our planet and our society.”

Finalists are selected annually from more than 550 International Science and Engineering Fair-affiliated fairs around the world. Their projects are then evaluated onsite by 900 judges from nearly every scientific discipline, each judge typically with a Ph.D. or the equivalent of 6 years of related professional experience in one of the scientific disciplines. A full list of 2009 finalists is available at

Visit the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair online press kit at and read blog updates at Follow updates on Twitter* at and on Facebook* at Video footage will be available at

The following lists the 19 Best of Category winners, from which the top three are chosen:

Category – First – Last – City – State/Country

  • Animal Sciences – Tara Adiseshan – Charlottesville, VA
  • Behavioral and Social Sciences OliviaSchwob, Boston, MA
  • BiochemistryA nartyaMandal, Brighton, MA
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology RonitAbramson, San Diego, CA
  • Chemistry PreyaShah, Setauket, NY
  • Computer Science KevinEllis, Vancouver, WA
  • Earth and Planetary Science MarleyIredale, Sequim, WA
  • Engineering: Electrical and Mechanical AlexanderKendrick, Los Alamos, NM
  • Engineering: Materials and Bioengineering ScottSkirlo, Fairfax, VA
  • Energy and Transportation RyanAlexander, Plano, TX
  • Environmental Management ElizaMcNitt, Greenwich, CT
  • Environmental Science LiBoynton, Houston, TX
  • Mathematical Sciences EricLarson, Eugene, OR
  • Medicine and Health AsokaRajendra, Sterling, VA
  • Microbiology I-ChingTsengTaichung City, Taiwan, Chinese Taipei
  • Physics and Astronomy NileshTripuraneni, Fresno, CA
  • Plant Sciences, Mark Chonofsky, Lexington, MA

Team Projects

  • Life Sciences Shaunak Peter, Bakshi Massey, Manhasset, NY
  • Physical Sciences, Erika Haochen, Duanni DeBenedictis, Hong Huang, Albuquerque, NM

Intel [NASDAQ: INTC], the world leader in silicon innovation, develops technologies, products and initiatives to continually advance how people work and live. Additional information about Intel is available at and

Intel, the Intel logo and Intel Education Initiative are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States and other countries. 

*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others. 



Gail Dundas


Rick Bates


Kara Gaffney