Dreyfoos School of the Arts graduate Christopher Wan has won a $3,000 prize and first-place honors in the environmental sciences category of the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Ariz.
Stephen Anand, science instructor at the school, said Wan’s winning entry was about modeling estuarine salinity using artificial neural networks research. “His win has put Dreyfoos on the map at the international level,” Anand said.
Wan, 17 of Wellington, worked on this project for more than a year. He was recognized by the Siemens Foundation in its prestigious STEM competition earlier in the year, was named a “MAD (Making A Difference) Scientist” by Junior Achievement’s Watch a Rising Star event at the Kravis and in May he received the Palm Beach Post Pathfinder Award for Science as he was competing in the Intel science fair.
Wan said he put substantial time and effort into the research. “The first year [11th grade], I spent about 400 hours on the project. This year I continued it with an additional 800 hours,” he said. “The goal was to develop a model to simulate salinity in the Loxahatchee River as a performance tool. My project allows engineers and environmentalists to predict salinity at any given moment in the river. Currently, the South Florida Water Management District has three-dimensional models to predict this and they require days to run. My model works instantaneously.”
Wan, a Dreyfoos piano major, graduated at the top of his class and will attend Yale University in the fall with plans to major in biochemistry and music performance.
ABOVE: Christopher Wan with his award.