Society for Science & the Public alumni participate in sixth White House Science Fair


23 Society for Science & the Public alumni participate in sixth White House Science Fair

Washington, DC  –Twenty-three Society for Science & the Public (Society) science fair alumni attended the sixth White House Science Fair today. All 23 students were participants in at least one of SSP’s prestigious science education programs, which include the Intel Science Talent Search, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and the Broadcom MASTERS.

The students escorted by the Society were Hari Bhimaraju, 12, of Cupertino, CA; Amy Chyao, 22, of Richardson, TX; Avery Clowes, 14, of Bolton, MA; Yashaswini Makaram, 17, of Northborough, MA; Nathan Marshall, 17, of Boise, ID; Annie Ostojic, 13, of Munster, IN; and Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna, 17, of Elmont, NY. This is the sixth White House Science Fair that Society alumni have been invited to attend.

“The Society is proud that our alumni have been selected to attend every White House Science Fair to date,” said Maya Ajmera, CEO and President of Society for Science & the Public and Publisher of Science News. “President Obama’s decision to recognize and feature these talented students reinforces the importance of STEM to our country and encourages young people to pursue their interests in the field. We hope that the next administration will continue this tradition of acknowledging young innovators and promoting hands-on research.”

In addition to Society-escorted students, many alumni (see list below) attended with other organizations. Several student participants, including Bhimaraju, Clements, Cofer, Davey, Hallisey, Kurup, Makaram, Marshall, Mesa, Ockels, Ostojic, Palanki, Rane, Sun, Te, Uwamanzu-Nna, Vallabheni, Varma, and Yoo were able to exhibit their projects at the White House. Chyao and Simon participated in a panel for past attendees of the White House Science Fair.


About the Society participants:

Bhimaraju won a first place award in Technology at the 2015 Broadcom MASTERS for her project creating a portable, low-cost teaching tool to help students learn the Periodic Table. She designed the hardware and software, using a Raspberry Pi and Arduino to build her system to help visually impaired users.

Chyao, now studying applied mathematics at Harvard University, won the top award at the 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for her project developing a photosensitizer for photodynamic therapy, a cancer treatment that uses light energy to activate a drug that kills cancer cells. She was an attendee at the first White House Science Fair in fall of 2010 and the State of the Union.

Clowes won a first place award in Engineering and the Scott A. McGregor Leadership award at the 2015 Broadcom MASTERS. For his project, he designed several versions of the classic “Lord Kelvin’s Water Dropper” to determine how alterations would impact voltage.

Makaram was a 2016 Intel Science Talent Search finalist for her project creating a new phone security tool that records the distinctive arm and hand motions that people use to lift a cell phone from a table to uniquely identify each individual.

Marshall won third place in the Global Good category at the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search for his project using a marine sediment core to examine the warming effects of two natural pulses of carbon dioxide released 55 million years ago.

Ostojic won the top award at the 2015 Broadcom MASTERS and a Rising Star award at the 2014 Broadcom MASTERS for her projects designing a microwave container to cook food more thoroughly with less energy and redesigning the microwave cavity itself to refocus lost corner energy onto turntable food.

Uwamanzu-Nna was a finalist at the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search for her project, which added a nanoclay ingredient called attapulgite to cement slurries to improve the undersea cement seals that keep offshore oil wells from leaking.


Additional Society participants:

  • Nia Clements, Broadcom MASTERS 2013 & 2014
  • Savannah Cofer, Intel ISEF 2015
  • Neil Davey, Intel STS 2013, Intel ISEF 2013 & 2014
  • Olivia Hallisey, Intel ISEF 2015
  • Deepika Kurup, Intel ISEF 2015
  • Gabriel Mesa, Broadcom MASTERS 2014
  • Mikayla Ockels, Intel ISEF 2013
  • Rupa Palanki, Intel ISEF 2014
  • Sanjana Rane, Intel ISEF 2013-2015
  • Elana Simon, Intel STS 2014
  • Matthew Sun, Intel STS 2016
  • Kimberly Te, Intel ISEF 2014 & 2015
  • Varun Vallabheni, Intel ISEF 2015
  • Maya Varma, Intel STS 2016, Intel ISEF 2015, Broadcom MASTERS 2011 & 2012
  • Christine Yoo, Intel ISEF 2015


About the Society:

Society for Science & the Public is one of the nation’s oldest non-profit membership organizations dedicated to public engagement in science and science education. Established in 1921, the Society is a leading advocate for the understanding and appreciation of science and the vital role it plays in human advancement. Through its acclaimed education competitions, including the Intel Science Talent Search, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and the Broadcom MASTERS, and its award-winning publications, Science News and Science News for Students, the Society is committed to inform, educate, and inspire.

For more information about the Society and its work, please visit or follow on Facebook and Twitter.

About Broadcom MASTERS:

To qualify for the Broadcom MASTERS, students must place within the top 10% in a Society-affiliated science fair. Nominees then enter the competition by completing an application explaining their science project and demonstrating their use of STEM principles. After submitting the online application, 300 semifinalists are selected and 30 finalists present their research projects and compete in team hands-on STEM challenges to demonstrate their skills in critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity. The top winner is awarded the $25,000 Samueli Foundation Prize.

For more information about the Broadcom MASTERS, please visit

About the Intel Science Talent Search

The Intel Science Talent Search is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition. Alumni of the program have made extraordinary contributions to science and hold more than 100 of the world’s most distinguished science and math honors. Intel STS recognizes 300 students as semifinalists each year. From that select pool, 40 student finalists are invited to Washington, DC in March to participate in final judging, display their work to the public, meet with notable scientists, and compete for the top awards of $150,000. For more information, please visit   

About the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. Intel ISEF provides a forum for more than 1,700 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions, and territories to showcase their independent research annually. Each year, millions of students worldwide compete in local science fairs; winners go on to participate in affiliated regional, state and national fairs to earn the opportunity to attend Intel ISEF, which provides more than $4 million in prizes and scholarships annually. For more information, please visit