CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. ‒ Horace Greeley High School senior Jiayi Peng won a $50,000 college scholarship Tuesday at the Siemens Foundation's annual science competition in Washington, D.C.
Peng, who placed second, competed over the weekend against five other high school students from around the nation at George Washington University. Peng was the only female in the individual competition. She won the regional competition in November to advance to the national finals.
A total of 2,255 teens nationwide entered the competition, and panels of scientists trimmed the field to six individuals and six teams. The $100,000 top prize went to a teen from College Station, Tex. The remaining finalists received scholarships ranging from $10,000 to $50,000.
Peng used a computer model to examine how varied neurological mechanisms can differentiate a healthy brain from one with a devastating neurological disorder, such as epilepsy, autism or Alzheimer's disease. Peng estimates she spent more than 1,200 hours on her project, titled "A Cellular Automaton Model for Critical Dynamics in Neuronal Networks."
Peng does not know where she will be next fall, but said she wants to study math or physics in hopes of becoming a researcher or professor.