Two Gainesville High School students will travel to Los Angeles after winning Best in Show at a regional science fair.
Amir Helmy and Brindha Rathinasabapathi, both 15, will represent Eastside High School at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May.
About 200 students competed in the Regional Science and Engineering Fair on Friday at Santa Fe College, said Maureen Shankman, who oversees the students and their projects. Winners were announced Tuesday during a ceremony at Abraham Lincoln Middle School.
Shankman said she was impressed by the knowledge this year’s students brought to the fair.
Helmy, who will compete at the international fair for the third time, won for developing a smartphone app that analyzes the heart, he said. The app is used to predict seizures and heart disease by using an algorithm and a phone’s accelerometer, a device that measures motion, to record heart waves. All a user has to do is hold the phone in their hand,
“The whole year-round I’m trying to do cool research,” he said. “Mobile health, it’s kind of my thing.”
Rathinasabapathi’s project focused on potential treatments for hypertension.
Research proved that the Angiotensin-converting enzyme, an enzyme that raises blood pressure, can be stopped with natural supplements instead of medication, she said.
“This year’s project taught me a lot of patience and the ability to not give up on my project,” she said.
Judges searched for students who were thorough, understood their content and communicated well, Shankman said.
“Being able to take a problem from the beginning and then analyze it all the way through and come up with a solution — that’s what we’re looking for in students,” Shankman said.
Helmy said he’s excited to spend a few days in LA, but he never goes into the fair expecting to win.
“I’m just hoping for a good experience and a good showing, because it’s really next-level stuff,” he said.