Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

To ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.

Four IMSA Students Named Intel Semifinalists

Four seniors at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) are among only eight from Illinois and 300 in the nation who were named Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) Semifinalists in the 69th Annual Intel Science Talent Search. Often considered the “junior Nobel Prize,” the Intel STS recognizes the most accomplished students and their schools for excellence in science and math.

 Irene Chen of Chicago
 Bonny Jain of Moline
Vladislav Kontsevoi of Evanston
 Anusha Kumar of Moline

IMSA is one of only 175 schools nationwide to produce one or more Intel STS Semifinalists. The students and the titles of their research projects include:

-Irene Chen of Chicago- Coordinate-Free Characterization of Homogeneous Polynomials with Isolated Singularities.   Chen’s research has applications in a variety of fields such as number theory, applied mathematics, geometry and singularity theory.

-Bonny Jain of Moline- Modification of Polyelectrolyte Multilayer Films to Increase Cation Selectivity.  Jain’s research investigates a new method to soften water 400% more efficiently than current methods used which require significant amounts of energy or cumbersome processing techniques.

-Vladislav Kontsevoi of Evanston- Enhancement of Thermoelectric Properties of Lead Telluride by Doping.  Kontsevoi’s research explores the enhancement of thermoelectric properties of lead telluride, a promising thermoelectric material.  The material has direct applications to cheap, effective energy production.

-Anusha Kumar of Moline- Evidence for Evolutionary Reductions in the β-Adrenergic System of the Texas Toad, Bufo speciosus- Kumar’s research sought to clarify the molecular basis for the difference in background adaptation, the ability to change skin color to match surroundings, between the frog Xenopus laevis and the toad Bufo speciosus. Her findings have the potential to translate to an understanding of the more complex human pigmentary physiology; many common human skin disorders ranging from eczema to psoriasis.

Each IMSA semifinalist will receive $1,000 in recognition of their scientific achievements.  Several of them developed their research project in IMSA’s Student Inquiry and Research Program.  

“We are fortunate that IMSA’s Student Inquiry and Research Program supports the kinds of minds that are valued and recognized by Intel—students who are highly skilled and integrative problem finders, problem solvers and apprentice investigators,” said IMSA Principal Dr. Eric McLaren said. “These students are already making significant contributions to their respective fields, which may someday lead to discoveries that will impact humankind.”

In Intel, students were judged on their individual research ability, scientific originality and creative thinking. All Intel STS entries were reviewed and judged by top scientists from a variety of disciplines.

“We believe that fostering a passion for math and science in today’s youth is imperative for America’s future success as a leader in innovation,” said Shelly Esque, vice president of Intel’s Corporate Affairs Group.  “The 300 Intel Science Talent Search semifinalists recognized today exemplify what is possible when young people are encouraged to apply math and science to solving today’s most challenging problems.”  
The Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) is America’s most prestigious pre-college science competition.  Alumni of STS have made extraordinary contributions to science and hold more than 100 of the world’s most coveted science and math honors, including seven Nobel Prizes and three National Medals of Science.  

The internationally recognized Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy® (IMSA) develops creative, ethical leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  As a teaching and learning laboratory created by the State of Illinois, IMSA enrolls academically talented Illinois students (grades 10-12) in its advanced, residential college preparatory program, and it serves thousands of educators and students in Illinois and beyond through innovative instructional programs that foster imagination and inquiry. IMSA also advances education through research, groundbreaking ventures and strategic partnerships. (
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