News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

May 16, 2014

South students place near top at international science fair

Teens two of seven ‘Grand Award’ winners from state

LOS ANGELES — Two Terre Haute South Vigo High School students won “Grand Awards” this week during the 2014 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, conducted in Los Angeles this year.

Sophomore Tingyue (Rita) Cui placed third in chemistry while senior Krishan Kumar earned fourth place in mathematical sciences.  

Out of 26 Indiana high school students who participated, seven earned Grand Awards — with two of the seven from Terre Haute, said Melanie Huber, South’s science department chairwoman, who accompanied the Terre Haute students to Los Angeles.

Cui earned a $1,000 scholarship and Kumar a $500 scholarship. “It’s the first time South has had two people place,” Huber said.

Also participating was senior Ryan Chung, who was attending the international event for the third time. Chung’s research has been a four-year project. Last year, he won a first-place Grand Award.

Only 25 percent of students who present their research at ISEF receive an award.  Only the top 2 percent receive a first-place Grand Award.

According to the Intel ISEF website, the event is the world’s largest pre-college science competition attended by “the world’s most promising young scientists, engineers and mathematicians.”

The young innovators represent the best of more than 7 million high school students around the globe who participated in science fairs this year, having won top honors at local, regional and national competitions to earn their place as finalists at Intel ISEF.

The South Vigo students had an opportunity to network with 1,783 “of the top high school science students from 70 countries around the world,” Huber said.

In the INTEL ISEF event, participants vie for more than $5 million in prizes and scholarships.

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