2018 Student Research Showcase Results

May 15, 2018

Media Contact:
Heather Thorstensen
Manager of Communications
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society
hthorstensen@sigmaxi.org or (919) 549-4691 ext. 216

One hundred and twenty-two science and engineering students from high schools, colleges, and universities gathered online in April for a virtual research competition. Their goal: To not only have the best research project among their peers, but also the best science communication skills. 

They competed in the sixth annual Student Research Showcase run by Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society.

Students enter the competition by creating a website that contains a slideshow, a research abstract, and a video. Each component challenges students to communicate their research findings to different audiences. For example, the slideshow is intended for an audience with a technical background while the video targets a broader audience. 

Approximately 30 Sigma Xi members volunteered from April 16–May 11 to judge the websites. Judges assessed the quality of the project’s scientific thought and method. They also critiqued how well the student communicated enthusiasm for their project; explained the significance of their research; used text, charts, and diagrams; and responded to questions. 

Judges picked top presenters in the High School, Undergraduate, and Graduate divisions. Division winners will receive a $500 award from Sigma Xi. Judges also picked top presenters in each of the research subject areas.

All participants will receive a certificate of participation. High school participants will be invited to submit a research manuscript to Sigma Xi's journal for pre-collegiate research, Chronicle of The New Researcher

2018 Division Winners

High School Division

The Antibacterial Effects of Carrots, Garlic, Kale, and Broccoli on Escherichia Coli
Maryam Imran, American Heritage School
Section: Microbiology & Molecular Biology

Undergraduate Division

Hive Minded: Like Neurons, Honeybees Collectively Integrate Stop Signals to Regulate Forager Recruitment
Talia Borofsky, Swarthmore College
Section: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Graduate Division

Evolution of North American Micruracarus Water Mites
Rachel Shoop, San Diego State University
Section: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

People’s Choice Award

The People's Choice Award is a $250 prize determined by a public vote based on the presentation's video and abstract. 

Chol-RNAi Molecule Polyplexes of PLL-PEG for the RNAi-Mediated Treatment of Neuroblastoma
Zhen Ye, a PhD student at University of Nebraska Medical Center
Section: Cell Biology and Biochemistry 
Read more

2018 Section Winners

Agricultural, Soil, and Natural Resources 

Investigation of Water Additives as a Method to Slow Evaporation
Richard Grey Leonard, American Heritage School


Colonization on the Island of Stone Money: Archaeological Investigation on the Remote Island of Yap, Western Micronesia
Matthew Napolitano, University of Oregon

Cell Biology and Biochemistry

Improving Wound Healing by Breaking down Biofilm Formation and Reducing Nosocomial Infections
Nicholas DiStefano, American Heritage High School


Developing a Novel Drug-Based, Dual-Targeted Emergency Treatment for Ischemic and Hemorrhagic Strokes by Targeting Common Molecular Pathways of Oxidative Stress, Hemoglobin Degradation, and Inflammation
Hemangi Rajpal, American Heritage School

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Evolution of North American Micruracarus Water Mites
Rachel Shoop, San Diego State University

Engineering (TIE)

Dynamic Weight Sensing for a Cost-Effective Assistive Grip Device
Andrei Spiride, Plano East Senior High School

Tumor-on-a-Chip for Personalized Cancer Drug Testing
Shiny Rajan, Virginia Tech-Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences

Environmental Sciences

Phytoremediation Using Duckweed and Hinokitiol
Eniya Krishnaraj, American Heritage School


The Creation of a New Algorithm For Determining Sequence Stratigraphy and Seismic Risk in Tectonically Active Areas
David Ologan, Bronx High School of Science

Human Behavioral & Social Sciences

Effects of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation on Insula-Based Functional Connectivity
Sade Abiodun, Duke University

Math and Computer Science

Diagnosing Manifestations of Disease in the Fingernail Through a Convolutional Neural Network Embedded in a Smartphone Application
Varun Lakshmanan, South Fork High School

Microbiology and Molecular Biology

The Antibacterial Effects of Carrots, Garlic, Kale, and Broccoli on Escherichia Coli
Maryam Imran, American Heritage School

Physics and Astronomy

Noise Monitoring for the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR
Alexander Stewart, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

Physiology and Immunology (TIE)

NAD Replenishment Rescues Stem Cells in Werner’s Syndrome Model
Nithin Parsan, William P. Clements High School

Optimization for Malnutrition Treatment Products
Garyk Brixi, Winston Churchill High School

For more details about this competition, please visit the Student Research Showcase webpage.

Updated 5/23/18 with the People's Choice Award winner.

More About Sigma Xi: Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society is the world’s largest multidisciplinary honor society for scientists and engineers. Its mission is to enhance the health of the research enterprise, foster integrity in science and engineering, and promote the public understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition. Sigma Xi chapters can be found at colleges and universities, government laboratories, and industry research centers around the world. More than 200 Nobel Prize winners have been members. The Society is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. www.sigmaxi.org. On Twitter: @SigmaXiSociety