U-High senior prepares for Regeneron STS Scholars finals competition in DC

U-High senior prepares for Regeneron STS Scholars finals competition in DC

Corona Chen

Regeneron STS Scholar finalist Corona Chen

U-High senior Corona Chen is among the top 40 2023 Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS) finalists headed to Washington, D.C. for final judging March 9–14. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Society for Science, “the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors,” announced the finalists on January 24. The competition, in its eighty-second year, “recognizes and empowers [the] nation’s most promising young scientist[s] who are developing ideas that could solve society’s most urgent challenges.”

Finalists were selected from the top 300 scholars announced on January 10. Of the 1,949 entrants from 627 high schools in 48 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and four countries, finalists were chosen based on original and creative scientific research “as well as their achievement and leadership—both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Chen is thrilled and honored to be a Regeneron STS Scholar and finalist. She first heard about the competition through a friend who previously participated. Chen's environmental science project, Understanding Incidental Microbial Communities Inside Ordinary Concrete Toward Decarbonization, focuses on a new field of concrete microbiology.

“It presents possibilities of intentionally growing the right type of microbes to self-repair and extend the lifespan of concrete,” Chen says. She wants to “inspire the global-scale creation and usage of sustainable concrete to reduce humanity’s overall greenhouse gas emissions.”

Chen worked on the project this past summer through the Anson L. Clark Scholars Program with a mentor and graduate student. She spent around 50 hours per week collecting data in the lab. It took her a month to complete her 90-page application.

As a top 300 finalist, Chen received $2,000 and will compete for over $1.8 million in awards during finals week. The top ten awards range from $40,000 to $250,000 and will be announced during the awards gala on March 14. Regeneron will also give $2,000 to each scholar’s school. 

During their time in Washington, D.C., finalists will also meet with notable scientists, “distinguished national leaders, and visit institutions of historic and political importance.” Their research will be displayed and open to the public for exhibition beginning March 12. Chen is currently working on creating and editing posters to showcase her work. 

“My success is also inseparable from the amazing programs and rigorous courses that [U-High] offers,” Chen says. “They have truly prepared me with the necessary skills to do high-level research, from helping me build a strong foundation in science to teaching me how to solve problems, think creatively and critically, and produce strong writing.”

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