This NoVA student is being honored in a prestigious STEM competition

Forty high school seniors from across the U.S. have been named finalists in one of the nation’s most prestigious science and math competitions, and one of them hails from Arlington.

young girl with red pony tail
Photo courtesy of Society for Science & The Public

Victoria Graf, a 17-year-old student at Alexandria’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, is among 40 finalists from across the globe in the Regeneron Science Talent Search. And now, she has the chance to win up to $250,000 as part of one of the nation’s most prestigious science and math competitions. 

The Regeneron Science Talent Search—hosted by 99-year-old nonprofit Society for Science & The Public and biotech company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.—celebrates the next generation of brilliant minds through a science competition, challenging students to present original research projects in the STEM field.  

This year, 1,993 high schoolers in the United States applied for the award, and 40 were awarded as finalists at the end of January for their original research. Among the projects, topics span a wide range of STEM-related subjects, including targeting cancer via signaling pathways and identifying an improved method for trace level arsenic quantification in water. 

Graf’s project, titled “Determining Stimulus Selection Parameters for Treatment of Neurological Disorders Using Statistical Analysis of EEG Signal Entropy,” investigates music’s effect on a neurological response.

In addition to excelling in the scientific field, Graf is a classical pianist who has performed in New York and London, and she is also a black belt in karate. 

From March 5 through March 11, Graf and the 39 other talented students spanning 21 states will make their way to the District for the final portion of the competition. The top 10 projects will be awarded at a black gala ceremony at the National Building Museum. 

Throughout the six-day process, students will undergo a rigorous judging process and compete for more than $1.8 million in awards. Plus, they will have the chance to meet with leading scientists, members of Congress and display their research to the public. In the past, finalists of the Regeneron Science Talent Search have gone on to earn a variety of esteemed academic honors, including the National Medal of Science, the Nobel Prize and even an Academy Award. 

For more information on Graf, the other finalists or the upcoming ceremony, click here.

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