An independent day school serving grades K-12 | St. Paul, MN

Ruth Mellin '22 and Alex Moore '22 take third place in international science and engineering competition

At last week's Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), SPA student-scientists Ruth Mellin '22 and Alex Moore '22 took third place in the Robotics and Intelligent Systems category for their original research project Project SERSI: Smartphone-Enabled Robotic Sign Language Interpreter. Mellin and Moore developed their project as part of SPA's Advanced Technology Projects class and earned a spot at the ISEF finals through their exceptional performances at regional and state science fairs.

ISEF is is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. Mellon and Moore were among 1750 high school students from 63 countries to qualify for the final ISEF competition, which was held in Atlanta May 7-13, 2022. ISEF finalists present their original research to judging teams made up of university faculty and scientists, industrial engineers and scientists, representatives of private and federal research centers and agencies, medical researchers, and post-doctoral fellows. Awards are given in 21 categories in science and engineering; Mellin and Moore's third-place award in the Robotics and Intelligent Systems category carries a prize of $1000 and puts them among the top high school scientists in the world.

Director of Computer Science and Engineering Dr. Kate Lockwood, who accompanied Mellin and Moore to Atlanta, calls ISEF "a once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity. Lockwood and the two students spent the week in Atlanta, attending symposia and panel discussions on a wide range of scientific topics. "I was excited just to qualify for ISEF, but the experience of meeting people from across the US and the world, all with so much talent for science, was so much more inspiring than I could have imagined," says Moore about his experience at ISEF. "Like everyone I met, I was amazed by the quality of every project I saw, so for us to win third in our category was a great honor, especially as the culmination of so much hard work throughout the school year."