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Saraswathy Amjith

Tesla STEM High School
Redmond, WA

A Novel Integrated Machine Learning Approach Utilizing Radar and Satellite Imagery for Selective Logging Remote Sensing Detection and Accompanying AI-Logging Map-Generating Webtool

Saraswathy Amjith sought a tool to detect illegal logging, so she tested various machine-learning approaches using satellite-based remote sensing observations to determine which approach most accurately spotted logging. Due to cloud cover in tropical regions, illegal logging can be hard to detect using satellite imagery alone. Saraswathy used a combination of optical and radar imaging for more accurate detection.

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Saraswathy Amjith, 18, of Redmond, developed a way to more accurately identify illegal logging for her Regeneron Science Talent Search environmental science project. Developing nations struggle to stop illegal deforestation. To detect it in real time, some stakeholders use satellite optical imagery, but savvy criminals have switched from clear cutting to removing only the larger, more valuable trees, which makes the logging more difficult to detect. Additionally, optical imagery requires cloud-free conditions, which is often not the case in the humid tropic

In her project, Saraswathy found that she could help compensate for cloudy weather by combining satellite optical and radar datasets, since radar imagery is not affected by clouds. She then tested various machine learning approaches and determined which was most accurate for this application.

2024 Science Talent Search finalist Saraswathy Amjith
Society for Science/Chris Ayers Photography

The daughter of Lakshmi Unni and Amjith Veettil, Saraswathy attends Tesla STEM High School, where she helps lead a math honors society. She is the founder and president of a nonprofit that offers free teaching and tutoring to more than 200 underserved students and holds STEM camps, workshops, hackathons, and STEM speaker events with more than 2,000 participants.

2024 Science Talent Search finalist Saraswathy Amjith
Society for Science/Chris Ayers Photography

Beyond the Project

Saraswathy founded PoweringSTEMHacks, hosting two hackathons whose themes were sustainability and medical innovation. More than 670 participants from 38 countries took part.

FUN FACTS: Saraswathy loves fashion and styling, and she has garnered 11 million views, 6,000 followers, and 1 million likes on TikTok. She has even collaborated with brands.

Illustration of 2024 STS finalist by Amy Wike
Illustration by Amy Wike