Orlando Science Center Announces 2017 Ying Competition Finalists

STEM career fields are some of the fastest-growing in the world right now, and the need for STEM professionals is expected to increase exponentially in the 21st century. Five ambitious high-school students in Central Florida are getting a head-start on careers in STEM as finalists for the prestigious Ying Science Competition, coordinated by Orlando Science Center.

Since 1999, Dr. Nelson Ying — local scientist, entrepreneur and philanthropist — has partnered with Orlando Science Center to celebrate the exemplary achievements of local science students. From April 21 to April 23, collegiate judges will evaluate the work of finalists from area high schools who will compete for the coveted “Ying Prize” during the Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition.

The grand prize winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship, a $1,000 award for his/her science teacher or mentor, and an additional $1,000 for his/her school.

The 2017 Dr. Ying Science Competition finalists are:


Mitchell Hammack

School: Oviedo High School

Project Title: Early skin cancer detection using convolutional neural networks

Using convolutional neural networks to classify images of melanoma and non-melanoma skin lesions for diagnostic purposes.






Grayson Huntsinger

School: Lakeland Grace Academy

Project Title: Mission to Mars: Designing a spacecraft impact protection and detection

This project focused on three challenges that deep space missions will face: impact protection against space debris, locating life threatening hull breeches, and radiation shielding. Two types of sealants were applied to the inside of a pressurized vessel to evaluate their effectiveness during high-speed impacts.




Sean Kennedy

School: Edgewood Junior/Senior High School

Project Title: Preventing endocrine disruption in Danio embryos

An experiment that tested how safe and effective a catalyst for the decomposition of the endocrine-disrupting chemical Bisphenol A is on zebrafish embryos.





Kelly van Woesik

Project Title: Home Ranges of Great White Sharks: Phase II

A simulation of great white shark ranges and behavioral patterns based on computer code and real data.





Madeline Dale

School: Edgewood Junior/Senior High School

Project Title: Alcohol dehydrogenase in Drosophila melanogaster: Year four

The effects of the mating preferences of ADH- female Drosophila melanogaster on tolerance to pesticides and the agricultural industry.


The winner will be announced at an awards luncheon Sunday, April 23.

Click here to learn more about the Ying competition and find out how you can apply next year.


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