Fremd senior named Scholar in prestigious science talent search

Fremd High School senior Aditya Gupta has been named a Scholar in the Regeneron Science Talent Search — the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition — for his research into applying machine learning to predicting crop yields for farmers.

The honor puts him among impressive company. Throughout its more than 80 years, the competition’s alumni have gone on to receive 13 Nobel Prizes, 11 National Medals of Science, six Breakthrough Prizes, 21 MacArthur Foundation Fellowships and two Fields Medals.

But the competition wasn’t the reason, or the first time, Aditya has applied himself to this type of research, having previously studied ways to improve the method of predicting earthquakes in India.

“This competition was never the end goal,” he said. “I’m real passionate about these predictors. I really like combining different fields.”

He’s already published about 10 papers on his scientific research, making him aware of the impact the Regeneron Science Talent Search can have on his current project - formally titled “Agri-GNN: A Novel Genotypic-Topological Graph Neural Network Framework Built on GraphSAGE for Optimized Yield Prediction.”

“I would say, in the world of research, it gives your paper credibility,” he said of the talent search’s recognition. “And when your paper has credibility, it can go out and help farmers.”

Shannon Denna has been the computer science teacher of Fremd High School senior and Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholar Aditya Gupta for the past three years. Courtesy of District 211

Shannon Denna, his computer science teacher for the past three years, said Aditya is clearly driven by a desire to help others rather than the fame and fortune his talent can bring.

“He’s trying to create solutions,” Denna said. “That level of passion is really what differentiates him from every other student. I have found that I can play the role of sounding board. As his teacher, I can honestly say he’s one of the kindest, most selfless students I’ve had. His humble nature is so encouraging to other students.”

As a first-generation immigrant and the oldest sibling in his family, Aditya said he’s had to learn himself about many opportunities to pursue his scientific curiosity from a young age. He gives particular credit to his teachers at Fremd for the direction he’s taken these past four years.

“I’ve only gone to one high school, but I feel Fremd is special,” Aditya said. “The teachers teach for the sake of teaching and helping students learn.”

In addition to his most recent recognition, Aditya also achieved a perfect score on the SAT.

As one of 300 Scholars among this year’s 2,162 entrants, Aditya received $2,000 himself and earned Fremd $2,000 for its Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum.

This year saw the highest number of entrants since 1969, making the search for the scholars as competitive as it’s been in more than half a century. So competitive were this year’s entries, in fact, that Aditya’s impressive project was not among the final 40 selected Wednesday to be presented in person in Washington, D.C., in March.

Regeneron Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs Christina Chan explained the significance of being recognized as a Scholar.

“In partnership with the Society (for Science), we are proud to provide this prestigious national platform that recognizes, celebrates, and rewards students for their curiosity and innovation, and encourages them to push the boundaries of science to tackle society’s most pressing issues,” she said in a statement.

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