High School Student Named Finalist in National STEM Competition

Fox Chapel Area High School freshman Sanjay Seshan has been selected as a finalist in the 2017 Broadcom MASTERS®, the nation’s premier and most prestigious STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) competition for middle school students. Sanjay is one of only 30 students from across the United States to be named a finalist. The Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars) is a program founded and produced by the Society for Science & the Public and it seeks to inspire young scientists, engineers, and innovators who will solve the grand challenges of the future.

The finalists were selected by a panel of distinguished scientists and engineers from a record-high of 2,499 applicants in 37 states, Puerto Rico, and the Department of Defense overseas. Sanjay will next compete in Washington, D.C., October 19-25 in a rigorous competition that will test the participants’ abilities in STEM, critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration. The winners of the competition will be named October 24 and more than $100,000 in awards, including a top prize of $25,000, will be given. Because he is a finalist, Sanjay will receive $500 and an all-expense paid trip to the Washington, D.C., competition, and Dorseyville Middle School will receive a $1,000 to use toward STEM activities.

Sanjay’s project is titled “Keeping Our Heads Above Water: Early Detection of Stress in Buried Water Pipes.” When Sanjay traveled through a poor area in India, he was dismayed by the drinking water system. It was basically “one community pipe and leaking water everywhere,” he recalled. Then he investigated the United States’ system for getting drinking water to communities. “I was stunned to learn that the water infrastructure in the U.S. was deteriorating,” he said. Moreover, water main breaks and leaks were wasting huge amounts of clean water. Sanjay wanted to find a way to detect leaks early as that would save precious water from going to waste. An out-of-tune clarinet inspired him to experiment with the acoustic properties of pipe.

Prior to being named a finalist, Sanjay was among the Top 300 Broadcom MASTERS. This list also included Fox Chapel Area High School freshman Amulya Garimella. Both students were originally selected based on the projects they completed in eighth grade and presented as part of the Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair held in the spring of 2017.