December 18, 2017

Subject: WSAS to send four students to American Junior Academy of Sciences conference

The Washington State Academy of Sciences (WSAS) is pleased to announce its support of four outstanding high school scholars to attend the American Junior Academy of Science (AJAS) conference in Austin, TX in February 2018. Students across the state were invited to apply for this award based on their performance in the 2016-17 state science fairs; eleven exceptional students were chosen as award finalists.

Each year, WSAS selects a group of Washington high school students to attend the AJAS conference, which occurs in conjunction with the annual AAAS meeting. At the meeting, AJAS awardees will present their research projects and have the opportunity to meet with accomplished scientists and visit world-class facilities. WSAS solicits donations and grants to support travel and registration costs for these students. This year, WSAS would like to thank the generosity of our members, the science community, and the Boeing Corporation.

The WSAS K-12 Activities Committee selected the award winners from an impressive group of finalists. The Committee was particularly impressed with the level of scholarship and creativity displayed by the finalists and chose four awardees for 2018, double the number of 2017 awardees. The students chosen to represent WSAS at the AJAS conference are listed below along with short bios describing their research project as well as their scientific and other interests.

2018 AJAS Awardees

Neha Hulkund, Tesla STEM High School

Neha is a senior at Tesla STEM High School. In the last year, she conducted data science research to predict and detect epileptic seizures with machine learning. This summer, she was a part of the Simons Summer Research Program at Stony Brook University where she conducted research on the segmentation of white matter damage in multiple sclerosis using deep learning. In her free time, Neha enjoys painting and biking. She hopes to continue doing scientific research at the intersection of artificial intelligence and medicine and plans to major in computer science.




Sagarika Samavedi, Interlake High School

Sagarika is a junior at Interlake High School. She is an environmentalist and passionate about science. She participates in Science Fairs, Science Olympiad, and the Department of Energy’s National Science Bowl. She enjoys reading about the cutting-edge research occurring in the DOE’s Offices of Science, especially in her favorite lab, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. A little-known fact about her is that she is nocturnal, and she spends extensive amounts of time staying up doing homework and measuring the orbital periods of Jupiter’s moons through her telescope. In her spare time, you can find her outside following the migratory path of Red Knots, one of her favorite birds. Currently, she spends her days peering through her microscope studying diatoms in ocean water, oil painting, and examining interesting geological structures to hypothesize how they were created. In the future, she hopes her acquired knowledge will be useful in protecting the Earth’s natural environment.


Eshika Saxena, Interlake High School

Eshika developed an interest in science and engineering early in middle school. Some of her projects include a bracelet that harvests energy from the human body to power wearable devices, a portable optoelectronic device to assess food quality, and a set of telemedicine apps that extract vital signs and biometrics from a video stream. Eshika’s work has been recognized at the state, national, and international levels at competitions such as the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. In addition, she is the president of her school’s Science National Honor Society, the founder and president of the Artificial Intelligence Club at her school, and the control systems officer for her school’s FIRST robotics team. In her free time, Eshika enjoys playing the piano, practicing Tae Kwon Do, and oil painting.



Sean Weber, Sequim High School

Sean was born near Santa Barbara, CA, however after 15 years living in Sequim, WA, he identifies more with the Pacific Northwest. Nestled between the Olympic Mountains and Strait of Juan de Fuca, Sean’s rural hometown offers plenty of hiking areas, intriguing river and tidal canals to explore among other boundless natural beauties. Sean credits this aqueous area for many inspirations for scientific research and he continues to believe that the ocean’s unexplored depths hold many treasures. Apart from his exploration, Sean spends a great deal of time in and around school; involving himself with clubs, events and sports. He swims and plays soccer for the Sequim High Wolves. Soccer in particular is a sport Sean has always connected with and he also plays for a year-round soccer club. Some of his other hobbies include backpacking, photography and relaxing with his cats.