Roma Pradhan and Jamie McCullough, graduating seniors at Friendswood High School, participated by invitation at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair May 11-16 in Los Angeles.

Participants at the Intel ISEF include more than 1,700 high school scientists from 70 countries, regions and territories. Students selected to participate in this fair represent the best and the brightest from 435 affiliated local science fairs. Intel ISEF is the world’s largest pro-college science competition with over $5 million in prizes awarded annually. The trip to Los Angeles was sponsored by the Science and Engineering Fair of Houston after Pradhan and McCullough were selected to advance to Intel ISEF from that fair.

Pradhan was awarded $1,500 and second place in the Computer Science category for her project‚ Train the Artificial Brain II: Computer-Aided Diagnosis and Treatment Plan of Alzheimer’s Diseases using Neural Networks. This was Pradhan’s second year to participate at Intel ISEF. 

One of Pradhan’s prizes was that an asteroid will be named after her. First and second place category winners received this honor.

She also received an honorable mention award from the International Council on Systems Engineering. The International Council on Systems Engineering is a not-for-profit membership organization founded to develop and disseminate the interdisciplinary principles and practices that enable the realization of successful systems. INCOSE awarded the best interdisciplinary project that can produce technologically appropriate solutions that meet societal needs.

Jamie McCullough received a special award of $300 and third place from the Society of Experimental Test Pilots in the Physics category for her project, The Optimization of Rocket Nozzle Performance.

Founded in 1955, the Society of Experimental Test Pilots is an international organization of flight test pilots and astronauts promoting air safety and education in the design and flight test of aerospace vehicles. SETP’s membership extends across 30 countries worldwide, comprised of more than 2,400 active and retired test pilots representing all types of aerospace vehicles, military and civilian.

The students enjoyed six days of seminars, competitions and social events including an evening at Universal Studios. The Intel ISEF was hosted by the Society for Science & the Public and the Intel Foundation.

Rebecca Clark, FHS physics teacher and coordinator of the FHS Science Fair, chaperoned the trip.

“What an achievement this is for Roma to be invited twice and for Jamie to participate in this international science event, surrounded by and being one themselves of the best high school scientists in the world,” FISD Superintendent Trish Hanks said. “FISD celebrates the excellence of their achievements.”

Pradhan is the 2014 Salutatorian and McCullough is No. 3 in the senior class at Friendswood High School.

For more information about Intel ISEF and a list of all the winning projects go to www.societyforscience.org.

Karolyn Gephart is director of communications for Friends-wood ISD.

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