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Germantown Academy Senior Wins Second Place Grand Award at International Science and Engineering Fair

Germantown Academy senior Sam Wang '23 won one Grand Award and three Special Awards and for a total of $4,500 in prize money at the 2023 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Dallas. Wang’s second place Grand Award for $2,000 was in the category of Robotics and Intelligent Machines, and his Special Awards include the third-place award from Association for Computing Machinery, Science Seed Award from Shanghai Youth Science Education Society, and a 1-year free student membership to the International Council of Systems Engineering (INCOSE) and free virtual admission to the 2023 International Symposium of the INCOSE.

“I was absolutely thrilled and incredibly honored to receive the second Grand Award and special awards,” Wang said. “I am deeply grateful to my mentors and peers who played an important role in my growth as a student researcher. Without their support, I wouldn't have been able to win these awards. It was exciting to meet fellow student researchers from across the world with many interesting ideas. Participating in ISEF has further fueled my passion for scientific exploration.”

For his project, entitled Rapid Cardiac Screening using Deep Learning, Wang created a deep learning workflow to analyze an echocardiogram video and assess heart function in five seconds with significantly improved accuracy than that of manual analysis.

“I deployed my algorithm to a Raspberry Pi ($70 microcomputer), Amazon Web Services, and laptops, and also created an iOS app,” Wang said. “These allow doctors to upload videos and get analysis results. This technology has the potential to democratize cardiac care by enabling non-experts to perform cardiac screening at points of care, emergency rooms, rural areas, or developing countries, where cardiology expertise is limited.” 

Through online research, Wang learned that heart disease is prevalent, and that early diagnosis can save lives. He found that echocardiography, a commonly used diagnostic tool for heart disease, is time-consuming and has an error rate of up to 30%. 

Under the guidance of Director of Independent Science Research and Biology Teacher Sarah Kesten, a GA student has qualified for ISEF in each of the past four years. Wang said that he was honored to represent GA at ISEF, and that he hopes more students will be able to participate in science research and attend ISEF in the future. 

View Sam’s project here.