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Sahishnu Saha knows the importance of outside-classroom ventures because of his outstanding record at science fairs. He encourages fellow students to consider entering these competitions. CONTRIBUTED

Saha encourages peers to enter science fairs for experience

MADISON – With a stellar record at in-school, regional and state science exhibitions, Sahishnu Saha encourages fellow students to enter science fairs and boost their preparation-for-college credentials.

“I was inspired to participate in science fairs from fifth grade when I won an award from the U.S. Army,” Sahishnu said. “Very few students from public schools participate in science fairs. For example, only three students out of 2,000-plus participated from James Clemens this year.”

Sahishnu, a junior at James Clemens High School, hopes to motivate more students to join the experience.

At the North Alabama Regional Science and Engineering Fair or NARSEF on March 6, Sahishnu was Overall Winner in the Senior Division. He was also the Overall Winner in that division at the 2023 NARSEF.

“The U.S Army presents this award to one student at the fair every year,” Sahishnu said. “The award carries with it a medal and a certificate.”

Sahishnu’s project in 2024 was entitled, “To Identify a Multi-Gene Biomarker Based on Most Frequently Occurring Genetic Mutations Across Cancers Through Bioinformatics and Verify its Efficacy to Detect a Wide Range of Cancers Using Statistical Analysis.”

In addition, he was awarded first place at 2024 NARSEF in the Biomedical Engineering & Biomedical and Health Sciences category, along with a Certificate of Excellence from the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

In the same category, Sahishnu claimed second place at the 2024 Alabama Science and Engineering Fair or ASEF, the state-level competition, on April 13 at Auburn University. He ranked in second place in Category 800: Biomedical Engineering & Biomedical and Health Sciences.

Sahishnu’s project from tenth grade was “Predicting Cancer and Determining the Course of Treatment using Gene Expression Models.” He won third place at the 2023 NARSEF in the category “Medicine, Health and Translational Medical Sciences” in addition to winning Overall Winner in Senior Division.

At 2022 ASEF, he was first-place winner in ninth grade in the category, “Medicine, Health and Translational Medical Sciences,” for his project “Identification and Classification of Brain Tumors from MRI Images Using Amazon Rekognition (or cloud-based image and video analysis; Machine Learning).”

At 2021 ASEF in eighth grade, he was also first in the category, “Physics and Astronomy,” for his project “Machine Learning to Identify Near Earth Objects (NEOs).” For this project, he and Arian Phillips from Liberty Middle School were nominated to the Broadcom Masters 2021.

Sahishnu subsequently won and placed in the Broadcom Masters Top 300 in September 2021. For this project, he also was awarded Certificate of Outstanding Achievement by the Missile Defense Agency and Naval Science Award by The Office of Naval Research.

In sixth grade, Sahishnu won a special award by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers or IEEE at 2019 NARSEF for his project, “Harnessing Wind Power to Generate Electricity – Design and Analysis.”

In fifth grade, he won a Certificate of Achievement for Outstanding Project in the Junior Division by the U.S. Army for his project, “Rheostat: Resistance in Metallic Conductors” at 2018 NARSEF. This award inspired him to participate in science fairs every year since then.

Saha and Connie Guo, also from James Clemens, were selected as finalists and were invited to the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair or ISEF in Los Angeles, Calif. on May 11-17.

For the first time, James Clemens students were nominated to the international fair from the 2024 North Alabama fair. “Typically, only two students are nominated to ISEF from NARSEF, but this time it was three students, and two were from James Clemens,” Saha said. Along with Guo and Saha, Gabe Gordon from Life Christian Academy was invited.

Kathryn Weir, a National Board Certified Teacher who teaches biomedical science/forensics, sponsors the science fair at James Clemens.

Sahishnu is interested in pursuing a career in biosciences. His father, Subhra Saha, is an Engineering Manager at Adtran Inc.

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