Winter Springs HS students recognized for STEM research

Students in Seminole County are gearing up for this year's science fair. For two students - this comes on the heels of the announcement they placed in the top 300 in the country in last year's international fair. 

The two competed in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, which is the nation's oldest and most prestigious science fair. 

"I think I've had a great opportunity to accomplish something great," said Varsha Naga, STEM student at Winter Springs High School. "So, I'm proud of myself." 

Senior Varsha Naga is one of two Winter Springs High School students who has a lot to brag about these days – but she won't.

"I try to be humble," Naga said with a smile. 

Winter Spring Students STEM research

Naga and Senior Annika Vaidyanathan were selected among the top 300 in the country for The Regeneron Science Talent Search. The finalists were announced in January. Naga's project focused on ways to prevent bacteria in medical equipment after she lost a friend who was diagnosed with sepsis

"This nanoparticle coating on medical devices inhibited bacterial colonization up to 90 percent in certain devices. So, this was a very significant finding," said Naga. She says her research findings have the ability to save at least 30,000 lives. She has a provisional patent for this research. 

Vaidyanathan was a finalist for her research in testing coatings on material to make them more repellent. She's built upon that research for her submission this year. It could help with COVID-19 safety. 

"The project I did this year is creating a mask that could better repel COVID-19 infected mucus.. or more effective COVID-19 mask," said Vaidyanathan, "As a little girl, I always wanted to be a scientist, but never had experience with it. When science fair came around I realized this is what I wanted to do and it didn't matter if I was a male or female."

The students were selected from close to 2-thousand applicants nationwide. Both students received 2,000 dollar scholarships for their last win. Winter Springs HS also received 2,000 dollars to use towards expanding its STEM program.