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Sixteen high school students descended upon campus last weekend as part of the annual Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology to compete for $9,000 dollars and an invitation to the national finals in New York where $100,000 is up for grabs.

From Millburn High School in New Jersey, Hayden Metsky, the winner amongst the individual competitors and of $3000, entered a project that attempted to improve automated language translation, the basis of programs like Google Translate. Metsky said, “I had been interested in foreign languages and computer science and so I merged the two topics.” After finding a mentor at Columbia University, he began his work at the beginning of the past summer and ended up entering Siemens.

The team winners of $6000 were Christine Lai and Diyang Tang from Acton-Boxborough Regional High School. In explaining her project, Tang said, “We looked at endocytosis and a regulator of it.” They investigated the localization of the regulatory protein Rabex-5 and imaged it using a fluorescent microscope. Their research began in the summer of 2007 at a University of Massachusetts Medical School lab.

As a partner university with the Siemens Competition, MIT hosts the regional competition for the northeast region of the United States. This year’s regional kicked off last Friday with the students showcasing their work to the public and ended the following day after the competitors presented their research to the judges and the winners were announced.

The winners, one individual and one team, will continue on to the finals in New York to compete against the winners from each of the other five regions to win scholarships that range from $10,000 to $100,000.

This year a record-setting 1,893 students entered the Siemens Competition with a total of 1,205 projects. Judges selected 311 of these students as Semifinalists and 96 of them to be Regional Finalists to compete at the six regional competitions.

The national finals will be held at New York University December 5-8, 2008.