Both of Illinois’ Regional Finalists in the 2014 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology are IMSA students, the Siemens Foundation recently announced. Senior Janani and Junior Pranav Sivakumar, siblings from Tower Lakes, are two of less than one hundred Regional Finalists in the nationwide competition, selected from more than 4,500 entrants. Janani and Pranav will each receive $1,000 in college scholarships for making it to the regional competition, where they presented their work this week. IMSA was also heavily represented at the Semifinalist level, with five of Illinois’ twelve students hailing from the Academy.
Pranav and Janani competed as a team, presenting their research on dark energy and dark matter, which they studied using the gravitational lensing effect of objects between Earth and distant quasars. “It is exhilarating to see so many women and girls including my fellow students at IMSA make a foray into the STEM fields,” Janani wrote in her profile on the competition website. “I am committed to doing everything in my power to excite and engage girls to pursue studies in math and science.”
Pranav and Janani presented their research in the Regional Competition at the University of Notre Dame on November 7-8. Pranav also presented his research on quasars this summer as one of fifteen Google Science Fair finalists worldwide. Additionally, Seniors Shelly Teng, Bhairvi Shah, and Emily Mu represented IMSA as semifinalists.
“In a time where the success of students and schools is too often measured by standardized test scores, I am proud to see IMSA students excel in independent research, one of the core tenets of our institution,” said IMSA President Dr. José M. Torres. “We applaud Pranav and Janani for following their intellectual passion, as well as their parents and teachers for guiding them, and we are happy to see their work recognized in the Siemens Competition.”