Brittany Wenger

17-year-old Brittany Wenger won the 2012 Google Science Fair grand prize for creating an artificial neural network that detects over 99% of malignant breast cancers using fine needle aspiration (FNA), a breast cancer test that in the past has been unreliable. Wenger tested her network, hosted on the Google App Engine, with 681 FNA samples from the University of Wisconsin and found it to be accurate 99.1% of the time. That’s 5% better than the best commercial network out there today.

Yamini Naidu

A finalist in the 2012 Google Science Fair, 17-year-old Yamini Naidu is developing new treatment pathways for methamphetamine addiction with computer modeling. When we spoke to Naidu last fall, she had already found two new meth-activated binding sites on a receptor protein in the brain. Her long-term goals: getting a dual M.D. and Ph.D. and becoming a neurosurgeon.

Joshua Meier

Joshua Meier, CEO of biotechnology company Provita Pharmaceuticals, is 16 years old--in fact, everyone at the company is a student at the Bergen County Academies in New Jersey. Meier and his team are working on a product that could limit the number of injections that patients with hemophilia have to deal with. They’re also in the early stages of developing a "flying syringe" that delivers vaccines via mosquitoes.

Deepika Kurup

14-year-old Deepika Kurup won the $25,000 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge in 2012 for developing a low-cost solar-powered water purification system. Kurup’s invention runs off-grid, generating water that tastes fresh (no nasty chemical taste). Her next step: applying for a patent. And one day, becoming a neurologist.

Matthew Feddersen and Blake Marggraff

Matthew Feddersen and Blake Marggraff were seniors in high school when they won the 2011 Intel Science and Engineering Fair for coming up with a way to slash costs so that cancer treatments cost as little as 60 cents a pop. Their innovation: a system that targets radiation towards tin particles placed close to cancer cells.

Raymond Gilmartin

14-year-old Raymond Gilmartin won the Broadcom MASTERS 2012 National Science Fair for work showing that the size and shape of rear spoilers impact drag and lift in SUVs--and in turn, that they affect gas mileage and carbon emissions.

Shree Bose

Shree Bose won the 2011 Google Science Fair at age 17 for a technique to improve outcomes in ovarian cancer patients who are resistant to common chemotherapy treatments. Today, Bose is a freshman at Harvard. She’s also working in a lab at Massachusetts General Hospital exploring her research interests (cancer metabolism and DNA repair).

2013-02-28

Co.Exist

7 Kids Changing Science For The Better

It’s STEM on steroids. These kids are making huge advancements in their fields, despite the fact that they aren’t even old enough to vote.

On Wednesday, 16-year-old Jack Andraka outdid himself: After creating an incredibly cheap, accurate, and easy-to-use pancreatic cancer sensor, the young scientist announced onstage at TED that he is developing a Star Trek-style tricorder along with a handful of other Intel International Science and Engineering Fair finalists. Impressive as Andraka’s accomplishments are, he’s not the only brilliant kid in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) space.

While STEM educationfaces a legitimate crisis in the U.S. (especially among young women), take some comfort in the fact that geniuses in the next generation are still rising to the top and doing some impressive things. Check out the kids doing STEM on steroids in the slide show above--and imagine how many others there might be if more than one in four high schoolers were interested in pursuing a STEM career.

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