A Stellar Scientist in the Making: Nicole Meister

Words: Caroline Chu

On March 24 and 25, The 2018 Baltimore Science Fair was held at Towson University. The fair is run by the Towson-Timonium Kiwanis Club, a local scientific organization that is “cognizant of the need to promote the study of science,” according to its event’s website.

Impressively, Centennial senior Nicole Meister, who competed against a total of 32 other projects, was selected as the recipient of a First Place Division One award for physical sciences.

Her project was centered on machine learning. Meister aimed to study the improvement in accuracy of a neural network that could classify features in x-ray scattering images.

This is not her first go-around in science competitions. She has proven her strength as a young scientist by participating in the Technovation Challenge, in which she and her team coded, marketed, and pitched an original app; by utilizing Arduinos, a computing platform, to record solar panel energy output; and by studying collision avoidance for robots.

Winning first place in the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium adds to her list of accomplishments.

Symposium Nationals will be held the first week of May, and The International Science and Engineering Fair is scheduled for the second week of May. Meister will be participating in both events.

From Baltimore Science Fair website

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Meister accepts her award at the Baltimore Science Fair.

Michelle Bagley, Meister’s Gifted and Talented Intern/Mentor teacher, has been teaching her for four years. This period of time has given her sufficient information to characterize Meister as both intelligent and modest.

This modesty translates to her being a wonderful team player.

“She is always one to be encouraging to others in their work, ask probing questions, and offer advice,” Bagley stated.

Meister will take these traits with her to college, where she plans to study either computer science or electrical engineering.

Throughout the years, Bagley has been appreciative of her ability to help students reach opportunities outside of the classroom. The Intern/Mentor class at Centennial has allowed her to apply this concept, but she has gone even further in encouraging students to apply to competitions like those Meister entered.

Bagley raved, “I have seen students take their research from high school and turn it into a patented product, continue their research in college and beyond, and become successful contributing adults. The fact that I can be a small step in their journey is what I love best.”

Appreciative of Bagley, Meister articulated, “She is so much more than just a teacher to me because she has been so supportive in these past years. I couldn’t thank her more for everything she has done [for me] and all that she has done for the Centennial community.”

When posed the question as to what she has learned in high school that will translate to a successful career and life, Meister stressed the importance of pushing oneself to try new things. This has allowed her to grow as a person.

Through her experiences in competition and in Centennial High School itself, this drive has allowed her to become more confident as a public speaker and to improve her writing skills.

Sometimes all that’s needed is the decision to take the first step to try something new.

“By pushing myself to try new things, I found interests in activities and subjects I never would have imagined,” Meister concluded.

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