Science fair season

    A handful of students from the region are heading to an international science competition in California, later this month. Only, this isn’t your usual science fair. The top prize? $50,000.

    A sophomore from Central High School in Philadelphia is one of a handful of finalists from the region heading to an international competition where the top prize is $50,000.

    Susmitha Ganti had some strong role models leading her into science. Her mother is a phd-level chemist, and her aunt is a physics teacher. But becoming a finalist in one of the most presitgious and competitive science fairs takes hard work.

    Ganti: Each week I would spend a total of maybe 15 hours?

    That’s after school, in a laboratory at Fox Chase Cancer Center. Ganti’s project looked at the ability of a protein to starve cancer tumors of new blood vessels.

    This month she flies to California for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Ganti says this is not your typical, regional science fair.

    Ganti: You have people from over 50 countries coming as well as 46 states and you put us all together in one room and ask us to compete against each other that’s a big deal so I’m a little nervous you could say.

    As much as she enjoys the competition, Ganti has had to make some sacrifices. During this month’s Indian-Pakistani cultural dance, she’s watching instead of performing. But Ganti says it’s great training for her career. She wants to study biochemistry and nuclear physics in college.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.