Faculty co-mentor second-place team in Siemens Competition

– from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering Communications

High school students Neil Shah and Yekaterina Shpanskaya placed second in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, the nation’s premier high school science competition. (Photo: courtesy of the Department of Computer Science)
High school students Neil Shah and Yekaterina Shpanskaya placed second in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, the nation’s premier high school science competition. (Photo: courtesy of the Department of Computer Science)

Dr. Nagiza Samatova, associate professor of computer science at North Carolina State University, along with Dr. Anatoli Melechko, associate professor of materials science and engineering at NC State, co-mentored two high school students who placed second in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, the nation’s premier high school science competition.

Neil Shah, a senior at Northwest Guilford High School, and Yekaterina Shpanskaya, a sophomore at Math and Science School (home school) in Raleigh will split a $50,000 scholarship for their efforts. The team reached national competition after winning the Region Six competition and its accompanying $6,000 scholarship, which they also shared.

The students’ project, entitled “Supercomputing Analytical Discovery of Plasma Instabilities in Fusion Energy Reactors,” facilitates the understanding of fusion by analyzing computer-simulated fusion reactor data and paves the way for an efficient analysis of massive amounts of data on powerful computer architectures, consisting of hundreds, or thousands of processors operating in parallel.

The Siemens Competition was launched in 1998 to recognized America’s best and brightest math and science students. A record number of 1,348 projects were received this year, an increase of 12 percent over 2008 figures. The number of students submitting projects increased by 14 percent while more students than ever, 2,151, registered to enter.

The Siemens Competition is the nation’s leading original research competition in math, science and technology for high school students, and is administered annually by the College Board, awarding college scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 in individual and team categories. The Siemens Competition is a signature program of the Siemens Foundation, the national leader in supporting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education with contributions surpassing $7 million each year.

For more information on the competition and the Siemens Foundation, go to www.siemens-foundation.org.