Scottsdale student is named among top young scientists in country

Akshaya Venkatesh, a Scottsdale student, is named among the top 30 finalists in the nation to compete in an upcoming middle school STEM competition in Washington, DC. (Submitted photo)

Akshaya Venkatesh, a 14-year old STEM student from BASIS Scottsdale, is among top young scientists in the country.

She is a top 30 finalist in the Broadcom MASTERS – (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars), a program founded and produced by the Society for Science & the Public, according to a press release.

Akshaya, an accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer, developed a mobile application to minimize food waste, the release said of the app that helps with food donations by having users list the type of produce they have, their address, and other pertinent information; when someone at a local food organization signs in, that person can see where donations are available and then send its staff or volunteers to collect the excess produce.

Arizona joins Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah as having a finalist in the competition for young scientists, engineers and innovators chosen to participate in the nation’s premier middle school STEM competition.

“Congratulations to the 2018 Broadcom MASTERS Finalists – and to every young scientist, engineer and mathematician who has competed in state and regional science fairs this year,” said Broadcom Foundation President Paula Golden in a prepared statement. “It is exciting to see so many young people showing their passion for STEM subjects early through competitions like the Broadcom MASTERS. By cultivating their STEM talents in middle school, students will continue in STEM fields in high school and college and become the scientists, engineers and innovators of the future.”

Akshaya and other finalists, vying for more than $100,000 in awards, will travel to Washington, DC from Oct. 19-23 to participate in a rigorous meet that leverages Project-based Learning to test and demonstrate their mastery of 21st Century skills of critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration in each of the STEM areas.

In addition to participating in team challenges, finalists will meet with government officials and showcase their projects for the public during a free event, from 1-4 p.m., at the National Geographic Society on Oct. 20. Winners will be named during a ceremony on Oct. 23 at the Carnegie Institution for Science, the release noted.

“Science competitions like the Broadcom MASTERS are critical to the STEM talent pipeline,” said Maya Ajmera, president/CEO of the Society for Science & the Public and Publisher of Science News, in a prepared statement. “I applaud all the impressive young people who have been named finalists.”

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