Centennial’s STEM Successes Recognized at Celebration of Excellence

Words: Maggie Ju / Photos: Piper Berry

The Celebration of Excellence for Intern-Mentor and Independent Research students was held on Wednesday, May 2, in the Centennial cafeteria. Complex, intriguing projects that showcased the accomplishments of Centennial students were displayed.

This is the last year of teaching for Ms. Michelle Bagley, the supervisor for the two G/T programs. Students presented her with flowers and personalized notes.

“I treat each one of them as unique individuals,” said Ms. Bagley. “It was wonderful to hear them speak about my impact on their lives.”

Throughout the programs, many students participated in various science competitions, and their successes throughout the year were acknowledged at the celebration.

In the Regeneron Science Talent Search, a prestigious national STEM competition, three Centennial seniors received awards: finalist Chy Murali and semifinalists Katie Gao and Swadhin Nalubola.

“In layman’s terms, I look for patterns in datasets and try to predict a gene’s significance on different types of cancer,” Gao said. She intends to explore biomedical research beyond her undergraduate years.

Despite “talent” being in the name of the competition, Gao does not view the key to success as such. She said, “It doesn’t take some unattainable magical quality to do good research. What you do need, however, is a nurturing mentor, lots of hard work, and a little luck.”

Nicole Meister, another high-achieving senior, is no stranger to recognition for her scientific achievements. Recently, she was a finalist in the Maryland Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.

My project was focused on improving the accuracy of a neural network that could classify features in X-ray scattering images,” she said. “I’m passionate about computer science and research because I feel I can make a difference with my work and improve the lives of others.”

Of all the opinions of the night, none were as important as Ms. Bagley’s. Thirty-eight years of fostering bright minds culminated in the last celebration of her students’ hard work.

“The evening was wonderful,” she declared.

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