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

Student-Scientists win multiple awards at Minnesota State Science Fair; secures third spot in Regeneron competition

Student-Scientists win multiple awards at Minnesota State Science Fair; secures third spot in Regeneron competition

Over spring break, SPA student-scientists competed in the 2024 Minnesota State Science and Engineering Fair (MSSEF). Qualification for MSSEF was based on results from the Twin Cities Regional Science Fair, which was held in February. Twenty-one students competed at State: The twenty-one students who competed at the State Science Fair were Rishi Bhargava '24 and Humza Murad '24 (team project), Finn Cairns ‘25, Talia Cairns ‘25, Oliver Chan ‘25, Deling Chen ‘25, Jacob Colton ‘25, Jack Gao ‘28, McKinley Garner ‘24, Samantha Gilats ‘24, Humza Jameel ‘25, Cerena Karmaliani ‘25, Lam Le ‘26, Annika Lillegard ‘24, Bora Mandic ‘25, Milan Mishra ‘25, David Schumacher ‘25, Oliver Thompson ‘25 and Finn Miller-Fimpel ‘25 (team project), Huxley Westemeier ‘26, and Annie Zhang ‘25. The twenty-one were recipients of multiple awards (see below for a full list of awards).

Among the awards was an additional finalist spot in the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) for Finn Cairns. Regeneron ISEF is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, and two SPA projects conducted by Bora Mandic and Huxley Westemeier already qualified for the final stage of the competition. Finn now joins Bora and Huxley as an ISEF finalist with his project, ViABL: Visual Assistant for the Blind with VLMs. The ISEF competition will be held in Los Angeles, California from May 11-17.

Award winners included:

  • Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) Finalist: Finn Cairns
  • Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) Alternates: Rishi Bhargava and Humza Murad, Deling Chen, and Milan Mishra
  • Medtronic Innovation Award: Middle School First Place: Jack Gao and High School Third Place: Cerena Karmaliani
  • Medtronic Technical Achievement Award: Science and Engineering: Finn Cairns
  • Minnesota Academy of Science Gold Award: Finn Cairns and Bora Mandic
  • Minnesota Academy of Science Silver Award: Rishi Bhargava and Humza Murad, McKinley Garner, Humza Jameel, and Huxley Westemeier
  • Minnesota Academy of Science Bronze Award: Oliver Chan, Deling Chen, Cerena Karmaliani, Milan Mishra, David Schumacher, and Annie Zhang
  • 3M Young Inventor Award: Rishi Bhargava and Humza Murad and Huxley Westemeier
  • 3M Science Applied to Life Award: First Place: Finn Cairns and Second Place: Bora Mandic
  • American Chemical Society, Minnesota Section, Outstanding Experimental Project in Chemistry: Honorable Mention: Jacob Colton
  • American Fisheries Society, Minnesota Chapter: Aquatic Sciences Excellence Award: Talia Cairns, Milan Mishra, and David Schumacher
  • American Heart Association: Community Impact Award: Finn Cairns
  • Beckman Coulter: Excellence in Engineering Awards: Second place: McKinley Garner
  • Broadcom Foundation: Broadcom Coding with Commitment Award: Bora Mandic
  • Gateway Fiber: Data Visionary Award: Bora Mandic
  • Hamline University Department of Physics: Excellence in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Award: Rishi Bhargava and Humza Murad
  • LHB Corporation: Outstanding Sustainability Award: Humza Jameel
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): Earth Systems Science Award: Rishi Bhargava and Humza Murad
  • Science Museum of Minnesota: Science Communication Award: Rishi Bhargava and Humza Murad
  • University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences: Budding Scientist Award: Samantha Gilats
  • U.S. Navy: Naval Science Award: Huxley Westemeier

Congratulations to all our student-scientists!