Intel Young Scientist Award Goes To Indian-American Teen

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The 15-year old won the widely acclaimed Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award for his work in making a low-cost electronically-aided knee brace.

Texas resident Syamantak Payra made the device in order to allow people with weakened legs to be able to walk better. The Young Scientist Award rewards the winner with $50,000.

Intel Young Scientist Award presented during ceremony in Arizona

Payra won the award along with 17-year-old Kathy Lu. The Young Scientist Award is given out by Intel Corporation and the Society for Science and the Public (SSP) at the 2016 ‘Intel International Science and Engineering Fair’ in Arizona last week.

“Our top winners this year Syamantak and Kathy clearly demonstrate that age has no bearing on your ability to conduct research and come up with solutions to important problems,” said Maya Ajmera, SSP president and chief executive.

“We congratulate them not only for their success, but on their dedication and hard work. They and the rest of the Intel ISEF finalists are the rising stars of STEM and we look forward to watching them pursue their passions and in turn make the world a better place for future generations,” Ajmera said.

Strong showing from Indian-American young scientists

Payra tested his design on two people that were left partially disabled after suffering from polio. The device allowed them to walk more naturally, and improved their mobility.

“Intel congratulates this year’s winners and hopes that their work will inspire other young innovators to apply their curiosity and ingenuity to today’s global challenges,” Intel Foundation president and Intel Corporation vice president of human resources and director of corporate affairs Rosalind Hudnell said in a statement.

Payra won the award after beating out 1,700 young scientists from 419 fairs held in 77 countries around the world. There were 5 Indian-American teens out of 22 “Best of Category” winners at the Young Scientist Award, each of whom received $5,000 in prize money. A team of young scientists also made the journey to the event from India.

Among the winners were Rajeev Jha (Hawaii) in the Behavioral and Social Sciences category, Marissa Sumathipala (Virginia) in the Cellular and Molecular Biology, Swetha Revanur (California) in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Tiasha Joardar (Texas) in the Energy: Physical category and Prashant Godishala (Minnesota) in the Translational Medical Science.

Thanks to the Intel and Indo-US Science & Technology Forum, three young scientists were awarded the chance to visit India.

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