RSI welcomes 82 Top Scholars to 2019 Summer STEM Institute

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Top U.S. and International High School STEM Students Selected
for the 36th annual Research Science Institute

82 high school students from 34 states and 14 countries convene at MIT for prestigious six-week summer academic research program

McLean, VA (June 24, 2019) –  The Center for Excellence in Education (CEE) welcomed the 82 top achieving U.S. high school and international scholars to the 36th annual Research Science Institute (RSI), jointly sponsored with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). RSI is an intensive, six-week program that gives students the opportunity to conduct original, cutting-edge science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) research in state-of-the-art university laboratories, hospitals and corporate research facilities in Boston and Cambridge, MA. 

“The Research Science Institute offers top academic math and science students the opportunity to experience graduate-level research and camaraderie with other talented STEM scholars,” said Joann P. DiGennaro, CEE President. “RSI has 2,800 successful alumni with a STEM career retention rate of 80 percent.” In addition to their individualized research, the students—dubbed “Rickoids” after the late Admiral H.G. Rickover, father of the Nuclear Navy and founder of the Center with DiGennaro—also study pure and applied mathematics, physical and biological science, economics and humanities. 

RSI scholars also learn about the careers, achievements and challenges of STEM through presentations and dialogue in RSI’s Distinguished Guest Lecture Series. Recognized STEM leaders will share their experiences with RSI scholars, including:

  • Jeremy Wolfe, PhD, Department of Neurology, Harvard University Medical School
  • Noam Elkies, PhD, Professor, Mathematics, Harvard University
  • Scott Kominers, PhD, RSI '04, Associate Professor, Harvard Business School, Entrepreneurial Management Unit
  • Philip Tan, RSI '93, Research Scientist, MIT Game Lab
  • Tom Leighton, PhD, Co-Founder and CEO, Akamai Technologies
  • Jinger Zhao, Managing Director, Quantitative Research, Two Sigma
  • Wolfgang Ketterle, PhD, Nobel Laureate, Physics, MIT
  • Sandor Lehoczky, Managing Director and Partner, Jane Street Capital, LLC
  • Pardis Sabeti, MD, DPhil, Professor, Harvard University, Institute Member Broad Institute MIT and Harvard         
  • Aaron S. Kesselheim, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital

RSI is offered cost-free by CEE to competitively selected top achieving students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students are selected by CEE’s committee of professional educators and RSI alumni based on high school records, personal essays, standardized test scores, teacher recommendations, research experience, potential for leadership, and honors and awards in math and science.

The RSI annual summer program (June 23 to Aug. 3) consists of one week of theoretical classroom work, followed by four-and-a-half weeks of high-level research under the mentorship of leading scientists, engineers, and researchersin the students’ respective areas of interest. In their final week, students demonstrate their research work through written academic papers and oral presentations to their peers and a panel of judges.

Dr. Amy Sillman, an RSI ’84 alum, will lead the Institute this summer. RSI’s 2019 academic professors include:

  • Dr. Christopher Skinner, RSI ’88, Princeton University (Mathematics)
  • Dr. Forrest Michael, RSI ’90, University of Washington (Chemistry)
  • Dr. Rebekah Rogers, RSI '01, University of North Carolina, Charlotte (Biology)
  • Dr. Jason Nielsen, RSI ’89, University of California, Santa Cruz (Physics)
  • Dr. Steven Leeb, MIT (Engineering)
  • Mr. Lance Rhoades, University of Washington (Humanities)

In addition to 52 U.S. high school rising seniors, 30 international students will participate from Bulgaria, Canada, China, India, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey at RSI 2019.

Research Science Institute 2019 U.S. Students

Michael Fraczek, Robert Service High School, Anchorage

Edward Hu, Oxford High School, Oxford

Devrath Iyer, Hamilton High School, Chandler

Jason Liu, The Davidson Academy of Nevada, Reno

Cynthia Chen, Harker School, San Jose
Swati Goel, Henry M Gunn High School, Palo Alto
Shloka Janapaty, Presentation High School, San Jose
Ethan Shaotran, Henry M Gunn High School, Palo Alto
Andrew Yang, Harvard – Westlake School, Studio City

New Hampshire
Katherine Duan, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA
Jocelyn Koelb, Homeschool, Auburn

Austen Mazenko, Cherry Creek High School, Greenwood Village

New Jersey
Dylan Raphael, Princeton High School, Princeton

Dawson Byrd, Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH
Hiba Hussain, Greenwich High School, Greenwich
Jamison Meindl, Brunswick School, Greenwich

New Mexico
AnaMaria Perez, Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque

Alexander Zhu, Charter School of Wilmington, Wilmington

New York
Serena Zhao, Manhasset High School, Manhasset
Naomi Kenyatta, Horace Mann School, Bronx

Daniel Fein, Miami Palmetto Senior High School, Miami
Helena Jiang, Buchholz High School, Gainesville

Subhash Kantamneni, Suncoast Community High School, Riviera Beach


North Carolina
Koushik Sridhar, North Carolina High School-Science/Math, Durham
Sahil Pontula, Enloe Magnet High School, Raleigh

Caitlin vanZyl, McIntosh High School, Peachtree City
Jacqueline vanZyl, McIntosh High School, Peachtree City

Landon Estes, Latta High School, Ada

Brynne Coulam, Boise High School, Boise

Rupert Li, Jesuit High School, Portland

Sarosh Nagar, Glenbrook North High School, Northbrook

Rhea Malhotra, Moravian Academy, Bethlehem

Iris Yan, Carmel High School, Carmel

South Carolina
Lauren Chen, Dutch Fork High School, Irmo

Julia Zhu, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA


Amulya Pillutla, Pleasant Valley High School, Bettendorf

Victoria Ouyang, St. Mary’s Episcopal School, Memphis

Grace Sun, Caddo Parish Magnet HS, Shreveport
Krishna Pochana, Baton Rouge Magnet HS, Baton Rouge

Emilio Ahuactzin, Harmony Innovation Ft Worth, Fort Worth

Nadine Meister, Centennial High School, Ellicott City
Bryan SebaRaj, James M. Bennett High School, Salisbury

Emma Sun, Waterford School, Sandy

Sidharth Anantha, Lexington High School, Lexington
Aditya Saligrama, Weston High School, Weston

Benjamin Kang, Thomas Jefferson HS for Science & Technology, Alexandria
Anusha Puri, Mills E. Godwin High School, Richmond

Pratham Soni, Troy HIgh School, Troy

Savitha Srinivasan, Interlake High School, Bellevue

Hemanth Asirvatham, Century High School, Rochester

Ahmad Abdel-Azim, Appleton North High School, Appleton
Afiya Quryshi, University School, MIlwaukee


Research Science Institute 2019 International Students

Dimitar Chakarov, High School in Mathematics, Acad. Kiril Popov, Plovdiv
Antoan Georgiev, MSHS St Kliment Ohridski, Montana

Salim Hashisho, Rafic Hariri High School, Saida
Hadi Khalaf, Hariri High School 2, Beirut

Grace Pearcey, Holy Heart of Mary High School, St. Johns, NL
Braden Wilson, Ashbury College, Ottawa, ON

Saudi Arabia
Basheer AlDajani, Dhahran Ahliyya School, Dammam
Osama DAbbousi, Dhahran High School, (International Schools Group), Dhahran Eastern Province

Zhifei Yu, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA USA
Chenxi Zeng, The First High School of Chagsha, Changsha, Hunan Province

Jeilene Ho, National Junior College, Singapore
Jia Qing Lim, River Valley High School, Singapore
Smin Ng, River Valley High School, Singapore
Emily Ngya Kee, Raffles Institution, Singapore
Matthew Tham, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), Singapore
Chun En Yau, Saint Mark School, Southborough, MA - USA

Keerthana Senthil Nayagam, PSBB (Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan), Senior Secondary School, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Roc Bellostas, Joan Oró Secondary School, Lleida, Catalonia
Victor Conchello Vendrell, Institut Jaime Vicens Vives, Girona
Ignasi Segura, Aula Escola Europea, Barcelona, Catalonia

Richard Beattie, The Kings Hospital, Dublin

Erik Göransson, Procivitas Helsingborg, Helsingborg
Hugo Hamilton, Internationella Engelska, Gymnasiet Södermalm, Stockholm

Assylbek Olzhabayev, Nazarbayev Intellectual School for Physics and Mathematics, Almaty
Diyar Tulenov, Nazarbayev Intellectual School for Chemistry and Biology, Almaty

Lennart Horn, Kantonsschule Solothurn, Solothurn

Republic of Korea
Iris Kim, Middlesex School, Concord, MA - USA

Jaehyun Lee, Seoul Science High School, Seoul

Arman Aydin, Usdukar American Academy, Istanbul

Azra Haseki, Robert College, Istanbul


About the Center for Excellence in Education

The Center for Excellence in Education was founded in 1983 by the late Admiral H.G. Rickover and Joann P. DiGennaro, President of the Center. The Center's mission is to nurture high school and university scholars to careers of excellence and leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and to encourage collaboration between and among leaders in the global community. CEE’s programs include the Research Science Institute (RSI), the USA Biology Olympiad (USABO), and the Teacher Enrichment Program (TEP). 

Media Contacts: Tom Flavell, (703) 448-9062 ext. 237
Resources: Joann P. DiGennaro, CEE President, (703) 448-9062 ext. 239
  Maite Ballestero, CEE Executive VP, (703) 448-9062 ext. 235

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