Issaquah High School Senior Researches Epilepsy, Named “Top 300 Scholar”
Issaquah High School senior Bliss Singhal has been named a "Top 300 Scholar" in the prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search. This recognition comes with a $2,000 award for Singhal and an additional $2,000 for Issaquah High School.
Scholars were selected based on criteria including outstanding research, leadership skills, community involvement, commitment to academics, creativity in asking scientific questions, and exceptional promise as STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) leaders.
Singhal’s journey towards this recognition began in 11th grade when she started work on an independent research project focused on seizure prediction technology. Witnessing the limitations and challenges her grandfather faced with his diagnosis of intractable epilepsy motivated Singhal to explore solutions that could enhance the lives of people struggling with epilepsy.
While researching the condition, Singhal learned that 17 million children worldwide have epilepsy. “Their inability to participate in activities like driving or swimming, coupled with the fear of unexpected seizures, often leads to depression, anxiety, and social isolation. I realized that many of the struggles children face are because they do not know when their seizures will occur,” she said.
Singhal focused her research on early seizure prediction in children, aiming to provide them and their families with the means to prepare for impending attacks. Guided by her I.H.S. biology teacher, Sylvia Law, she delved into a comprehensive study spanning behavioral science, bioengineering, computational sciences, machine learning, neuroscience, and public health.
“The Regeneron Science Talent Search started in 1942 and is the nation's oldest science/math research competition in the nation. Thousands apply to this every year and only the best of the best apply. Bliss being a top 300 scholar is a huge deal,” Law said.
Singhal began work on the project in June 2022 and concluded it in May 2023, dedicating nearly 400 hours to research. She encountered many challenges that tested her resilience, such as not having enough processing power on her computer to run machine learning algorithms. Singhal said she “embraced resilience” and “persisted and sought innovative solutions to overcome the challenges.”
For the project, Singhal explored the realm of deep learning, delving into various algorithms like convolutional neural networks (CNN) to long short-term memory neural networks (LSTM). She gained comprehensive insights into their functions, operational mechanisms, applications in research, and optimization. Singhal said her findings led her to a realization about the “inadequacies of current healthcare capabilities, emphasizing the need for significant technological advancements to combat diseases like epilepsy.”
After high school, Singhal said she plans to pursue an interdisciplinary education in artificial intelligence (AI) and biology, and continue her research in applying AI and computational techniques in the fields of healthcare and medicine. Additionally, she said she would like to stay involved with her research endeavors and STEM activities as part of her nonprofit technology4girls.com.
Learn more about the Regeneron Science Talent Search.
- Featured Story