Google's search reputation is ubiquitous. Not only can Google spit out the answer to just about any question you might have, the tech giant also knows how to search for budding scientists from around the globe who have creative solutions for today's problems!
Enter Mason High School's Sreeram Venkatarao. On July 7, the MHS sophomore found out he was selected from ‘The Americas’ region as one of 90 regional finalists at the Google Science Fair 2015. The list of finalists, who "stand out amongst thousands of entries” have projects that are, according to The Fair’s website, "bursting with the potential to change the world.”
"I found out that I was a Google Science Fair Regional Finalist when I looked up the results online at a family friend's house in India. I was very excited, since I had applied the previous two years and didn't receive anything, showing me how hard it is to become a finalist. I'm glad that a prominent and innovative company like Google has commended my work as something which has the potential to change the world," said Venkatarao.
Venkatarao’s project aims to improve cancer detection and diagnosis through a combination of cell segmentation and artificial intelligence techniques.
"Cancer diagnosis involving tissue images is subjective, as the difference between cancer tissue images and normal tissue images is minute. Because of this, it would be very helpful to develop a computational and objective diagnostic tool to differentiate between normal tissues and cancerous tissues," explained Venkatarao. [My research] will aid pathologists in diagnosing cancer, freeing them up to do more specialized work. When automated, this technology could also be deployed to third world countries to aid doctors with limited personnel and resources. Because of the minimal cost and heavy use of open-source software and technology, this tool would be inexpensive."
Venkatarao represented Ohio in the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair - one of the most prestigious pre-college science competitions in the world – this past May in Pittsburgh. He was one of only seven students whose research projects were judged the best of Ohio during the Buckeye Science and Engineering Fair and were then chosen to move on to compete at INTEL.
Read more about Venkatarao’s representation at INTEL.
The promising researcher has a passion for scientific research because it gives him a chance to do what he loves most: identifying a challenging problem and finding a way to solve it.
"I have been solving Rubik's Cubes since I was eight years old and I'm ranked 2nd in the nation and 11th in the world for solving [the Rubik's Cube] blindfolded. I hope to use that same passion in order to solve complex problems that can save lives," said Venkatarao.
As for his future plans, Venkatarao would love to study computer science and entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon, MIT, or Stanford. Then, "I hope to build a company from the ground up that will make a difference in people's lives. Winning at the Google Science Fair would mean so much more than just scholarships and prizes; it would give me a platform to further my research and really make a difference in people's lives."
The Google Science Fair is a global online science and technology competition open to individuals and teams from ages 13 to 18. The 20 Global Finalists will be announced August 4 and will receive a variety of exciting prizes including a LEGO Education Goodie Bag, a Scientific American and National Geographic subscription, and a Google Goodie Bag. The Grand Prize winner will receive a $50,000 Google scholarship intended to further the winner’s education.