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Jackson High ninth-grader Harshu Musunuri is best of the best at science fair “Super Bowl”

Harshu Musunuri distinguished herself as one of the best of the best, winning the Best in Category in physical energy
Harshu Musunuri distinguished herself as one of the best of the best, winning the Best in Category in physical energy. Photo courtesy of Everett Public Schools.

By Mary Waggoner, Everett Public Schools Director of Communications.

Sriharshita ‘Harshu’ Musunuri won her category at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair the week of May 10, 2015.

This year 1,700 students from more than 75 countries and nearly 500 affiliated science fairs competed in the Super Bowl of science fairs, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

One Washington student, Harshu Musunuri, distinguished herself as one of the best of the best, winning the Best in Category in physical energy, one of only 20 categories of research showcased at the competition. Her Best in Category award was $5,000.

As a result of Musunuri’s success, the Intel Foundation also awarded a $1,000 grant to her school, Henry M. Jackson High School, and to the affiliated science fair that initially sent Musunuri to Pittsburgh, the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair.

In addition to the Best in Category prize, Musunuri also won a special award from the United Technologies Corporation that includes $3,000 in stock, a first-place award of $3,000, and the Innovation Exploration Award for a trip to Caltech to present her research, network with professionals, and tour the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“I am just so impressed with Harshu!” said her research club advisor, Andy Sevald.

“Throughout this experience, with its pressures, deadlines and material issues, she has handled herself extremely well. A weaker researcher would have hung it up months ago. A researcher needs both aptitude and attitude. After six months of observation I can tell you that Harshu has plenty of both.”

“I would also like to add that none of this success would have been possible without the assistance she received from scientists, engineers, and manufacturers from the local and not-so-local community. I am often just blown away by the support our students receive once we contact people in the industry of interest,” concluded Sevald.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair honors the world’s most promising student entrepreneurs, innovators and scientists. Finalists are selected annually from hundreds of affiliated fairs. Their projects are then evaluated onsite by more than 1,200 judges from nearly every scientific discipline, each with a Ph.D. or the equivalent of six years of related professional experience in one of the scientific disciplines.

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