Four Students Join $100,000 Winners' Circle in 2012 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology

  Four Students Join $100,000 Winners' Circle in 2012 Siemens Competition in
                          Math, Science & Technology

Kensen Shi of College Station, Texas, Wins $100,000 Individual Prize for
Research on Robot Navigation; Jeremy Appelbaum of Woodmere, New York, and
William Gil and Allen Shin of Valley Stream, New York, Win $100,000 Team Prize
for Research on Plant Protein

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2012

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Research projects on robot navigation
and on a tumor-suppressing protein today earned four remarkable students
entree into the prestigious $100,000 winners' circle of the Siemens
Competition in Math, Science & Technology, the nation's premier research
competition for high school students. The students join a highly selective
group of just 13 individual competitors and 13 teams who have previously been
awarded Grand Prizes in the Siemens Competition.

Kensen Shi, a senior at A&M Consolidated High School in College Station,
Texas, won the $100,000 Grand Prize in the Individual category for developing
a new method to improve robot motion planning. Jeremy Appelbaum, William Gil
and Allen Shin, seniors at George W. Hewlett High School in Hewlett, New York,
will share the $100,000 Grand Prize in the Team category for investigating
COP1, a key protein in plants and animals.

The Siemens Competition is a signature program of the Siemens Foundation, a
leading supporter of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
education in the United States. The Competition is administered by the
College Board. The fourteenth annual awards were presented this morning at
The George Washington University, host of the 2012 Siemens Competition
National Finals.

Video, photos and bios at

"We applaud Kensen Shi, Jeremy Appelbaum, William Gil and Allen Shin on the
outstanding ingenuity and commitment they have shown in their research," said
Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, president of the Siemens Foundation. "This is just
the beginning of what we hope will be a lifelong journey for them in science,
technology and mathematics. We wish them every success on the journey and
look forward to seeing their innovations to come."

Six individuals and six teams competed at the National Finals this weekend
after winning one of six regional competitions in November. They presented
their research to a panel of judges comprised of nationally renowned
scientists and mathematicians headed by lead judge Akos Vertes, PhD, Professor
of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The George Washington
University, and co-director of the university's W.M. Keck Institute for
Proteomics Technology and Applications.

The Winning Individual

Kensen Shi won a $100,000 college scholarship for his project, Lazy Toggle
PRM: A Single-Query Approach to Motion Planning.

"Kensen Shi designed a faster algorithm for robot motion planning, a very
challenging problem in robotics," said competition judge Dr. Shashi Shekar,
McKnight Distinguished University Professor, Computer Science and Engineering,
University of Minnesota. "Imagine a robot from Transformers choosing a path
and appropriate shape such as a dog or a snake to navigate a collapsed
building to reach survivors after an earthquake. Finding a solution quickly
matters. A critical component is computation time to figure out a path and
shape sequence. In many cases, Kensen's algorithm is two to four times faster
than previous algorithms in terms of computation time."

"For a high school student, it is very impressive work. His results are
comparable to those of a PhD student beginning their thesis. He connected the
dots between two algorithmic ideas called 'Toggle' and 'Lazy' to bring them
together in an effective way."

Kensen has won honors in a variety of mathematics and science competitions.
As Texas American Regional Mathematics League Gold Team captain, he led his
team to 13th place nationally. He placed 21st nationally in the USA Computing
Olympiad Gold Division and was a US National Chemistry Olympiad finalist. A
senior, he is captain of his school's Science Bowl team, which placed second
regionally for two consecutive years. President of the Math Club, he
presented a series of seminars on advanced topics and qualified for the USA
Junior Mathematical Olympiad. He is an accomplished pianist, having won
numerous awards in the Houston Forum Young Artists Piano Competition. He also
loves to swim. Kensen aspires to become a professor and researcher in
computer science. He was mentored by Dr. Nancy Amato, Texas A&M University.

The Winning Team

Jeremy Appelbaum, William Gil and Allen Shin will share a $100,000 college
scholarship for their project, COP1 Arrests Photomorphogenesis in Dark Grown
Gametophytes of Ceratopteris richardii; A Study of COP1 in Cryptogams.

"The students investigated COP1, a key protein that acts as a tumor suppressor
in humans and controls light-dependent development in plants," said
competition judge Dr. Hanjo Hellmann, Assistant Professor, School of
Biological Sciences, Washington State University. "The team looked at a
germinating fern and studied how it develops in the light and dark, showing
for the first time that COP1 plays a role in its development. Understanding
COP1's precise role in the cell may help in developing multiple applications
in plants and animals in the future."

"We were impressed by the enthusiasm of the students and by the fact that they
carried out their research entirely with the resources available at their high
school laboratory."

Jeremy is a member of his school newspaper and volleyball team, as well as a
student tutor. He would like to major in biology or chemistry and aspires to
be a physician.

William is president of the leadership group, We are Future Leaders. He
volunteers at the American Cancer Society and is a member of the varsity
fencing team. He would like to become a biomedical researcher.

Allen plays volleyball for his school and participates in an annual mission
trip to help residents of impoverished areas. He would like to become a

The team was mentored by Dr. Terrence Bissoondial, a biological research
teacher at George W. Hewlett High School in Hewlett, New York. Dr. Bissondial
is the recipient of a Siemens Foundation Founder's Award, which recognizes
outstanding individuals for encouraging students to engage in STEM subjects.

National Finalists

Six individuals and six teams competed at the Siemens Competition National
Finals. The remaining National Finalists were awarded the following


  o$50,000 scholarship – Jiayi Peng, Horace Greeley High School, Chappaqua,
    New York (Physics)
  o$40,000 scholarship – Samuel Pritt, Home School, Walkersville, Maryland
    (Computer Science)
  o$30,000 scholarship – Saumil Bandyopadhyay, Maggie L. Walker Governor's
    School for Government and International Studies, Richmond, Virginia
    (Electrical Engineering)
  o$20,000 scholarship – James Howe, Regina High School, Iowa City, Iowa
  o$10,000 scholarship – Raghav Tripathi, Westview High School, Portland,
    Oregon (Biochemistry)


  o$50,000 scholarship – Daniel Fu, Park Tudor School, Indianapolis, Indiana,
    and Patrick Tan, Carmel High School, Carmel, Indiana (Mathematics)
  o$40,000 scholarship – Neil Davey, Montgomery Blair High School, Silver
    Spring, Maryland, and Katie Barufka, Langley High School, McLean, Virginia
  o$30,000 scholarship – AJ Toth and Jim Andress, Oak Ridge High School, Oak
    Ridge, Tennessee (Computer Science)
  o$20,000 scholarship – Jonathan Tidor and Rohil Prasad, Lexington High
    School, Lexington, Massachusetts (Mathematics)
  o$10,000 scholarship – Thomas Luh, Leland High School, San Jose,
    California, and Joy Jin, Henry M. Gunn High School, Palo Alto, California

The Siemens Competition

Launched in 1998, the Siemens Competition is the nation's premier science
research competition for high school students. 2,255 students registered to
enter the Siemens Competition this year for a total 1,504 projects submitted.
322 students were named semifinalists and 93 were named regional finalists,
representing 25 states. Entries are judged at the regional level by esteemed
scientists at six leading research universities which host the regional
competitions: California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University,
Georgia Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
University of Notre Dame and The University of Texas at Austin.

Follow us on the road to the Siemens Competition: Follow us on Twitter
@SFoundation (#SiemensComp) and like us on Facebook at SiemensFoundation.
Visit for a webcast of the National Finalist Awards

The Siemens Foundation

The Siemens Foundation provides more than $7 million annually in support of
educational initiatives in the areas of science, technology, engineering and
mathematics (STEM) in the United States. Its signature programs include the
Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, Siemens Awards for Advanced
Placement, and The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, which encourages
K-12 students to develop innovative green solutions for environmental issues.
By supporting outstanding students today, and recognizing the teachers and
schools that inspire their excellence, the Foundation helps nurture tomorrow's
scientists and engineers. The Foundation's mission is based on the culture of
innovation, research and educational support that is the hallmark of Siemens'
U.S. companies and its parent company, Siemens AG. For more information,

The College Board

The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that
connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the
College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the
membership association is made up of more than 6,000 of the world's leading
educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity
in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million
students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and
services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT® and the
Advanced Placement Program®. The organization also serves the education
community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and
schools. For further information, visit

SOURCE Siemens Foundation

Contact: Joseph Giumarra, Momentum Communications Group, +1-201-741-8293,; Kiesha Boykins, Siemens Foundation,
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