The Samueli Foundation Prize:


River Grace, 14, West Melbourne, Fla.
Rain Dance of the Radiata: Behavior of the Endangered Radiated Tortoise and Related Species

Grand prize winner River Grace became fascinated by the behavior of tortoises through his volunteer work at his local zoo and a tortoise breeding facility. He observed that whenever it rained, a captive group of endangered radiated tortoises would rise up and shuffle rhythmically. River hypothesized that this behavior allows tortoises to avoid drowning in flash floods in their arid native habitat in Madagascar and tested their reactions to a gentle flow of water, light mist and a sprinkling of lentils. To support conservation efforts, River now plans to repeat the experiment on several closely related tortoise species.

He was selected for the Samueli Foundation Prize based on his mastery of STEM principles during the weeklong competition. River has exemplified how research and innovation are dependent on the integration of these disciplines as well as the impact they collectively have on our everyday lives.

Marconi/Samueli Award for Innovation:


Eitan Acks, Age 14, San Diego
Tongue Untwister

Marconi/Samueli Award for Innovation winner Eitan Acks was inspired to study speech therapy by his little brother, who has dyspraxia, a disability that affects the ability to communicate. Eitan wanted to improve on the simple exercises using tongue depressors prescribed by speech therapists. So he put his engineering skills to use building a better device to strengthen the parts of the body used in speech, and to mend the connection between those muscles and the brain. Through trial and error with five different prototypes, Eitan found that his device is capable of improving modern speech therapy for dyspraxia as well as other speech disorders.

Eitan was selected because he demonstrates both vision and promise as an innovator, and in the spirit of radio inventor Guglielmo Marconi, has shown aptitude and skill in applied electrical engineering concepts in his science project and in the STEM challenges throughout the week.


Each of these finalists (first- and second-place award winners) were selected for demonstrated skills and promise in each of the disciplines represented by STEM. First place winners received $3,500 and second place winners were awarded $2,500 to support a summer camp experience of a finalist's choice of STEM programs offered around the country. Each STEM winner also wins an iPad.

Science Award


First place: Keoni Gandall of Huntington Beach, Calif., for his project on genetically-modified halobacteria and engineering pink salt.


Second place: Julienne Sauer of San Ramon, Calif., for her project on quantum locking in superconductors and frictionless motion.

Technology Award


First place: Austin McCoy of Rochester, Minn., for his project on affordable detection lab equipment for dengue virus in developing countries.


Second place: Rebecca Bloomfield of Colorado Springs, Colo., for her project on the effects of slope and remediation on post-fire sedimentation.

Engineering Award


First place: Mihir Garimella of Pittsburgh, Pa., for his project on digitally recreating smells using microchip-controlled air fresheners that were programmed to release a scent during a particular video clip.


Second place: Sidhika Balachandar, of Gainesville, Fla., for her project on how different materials affect soundproofing.

Mathematics Award


First place: Johann Kailey-Steiner of Denver for his project on reducing drag in rocket design.


Second place: Joshua Wentzel of Portland, Ore., for his project on reservior volume and pressure in homemade air cannons.

Rising Stars Award

Krystal Horton of Menifee, Calif., (pictured, left) and Sean Weber of Sequim, Wash., (pictured, right) win a trip to Intel ISEF, the world’s largest international high school science fair competition, in May 2014 as the United States Delegates to Broadcom MASTERS International, in recognition of their work throughout the Broadcom MASTERS finals, as well as their projects on beetle infestation, and the impact of waves on mussels, respectively.

Team Award

River Grace, Seamus Hoolahan, Hannah Steele, Dhruv Iyer and Megan Swintosky

The Broadcom MASTERS Team Award was awarded to the red team for demonstrating their ability to work together, solve problems through shared decision making, communication and scientific and engineering collaboration. Each received an iPod nano and wristband. (Pictured left to right: Grand prize winner River Grace, Seamus Hoolahan, Hannah Steele, Dhruv Iyer and Megan Swintosky.)


Broadcom Foundation and Society for Science & the Public present the 30 middle school finalists who competed in the third annual Broadcom MASTERS competition. The 14 girls and 16 boys came from 17 states and represented 30 schools. The finalists won an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete for more than $60,000 in cash prizes.

The names, geographic location and project titles of the 30 finalists names are listed below. Winners were announced on October 1, 2013.

Broadcom MASTERS 2013 Finalist Book

First Name Last Name City State Project
Acks Eitan San Diego CA Tongue Untwister
Agarwal Aakshi Hamden CT TACE Inhibitors as Non-Biological Drugs for Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Balachandar Sidhika Gainesville FL Can You Keep It Down?
Becker Michael Flower Mound TX Different Temperatures, Different Pitch
Becker Drew Heber City UT Fingerprinting Oil Wells
Bloomfield Rebecca Colorado Springs CO A Slippery Slope: The Effects of Slope and Remediation Treatments on Post-Fire Sedimentation
Burnett Emma Pittsburgh PA Elements of Fluorescence
Corn Elizabeth Tampa FL The Effects of Nanoparticle Size on the Antibacterial Effects of Zinc Oxide (ZnO) on E. coli Bacteria
Gandall Keoni Huntington Beach CA Engineering Pink Salt!
Garimella Mihir Pittsburgh PA ScentIt: Digitally Recreating Smells
Gonser Caleb Terre Haute IN Space vs. No Space: Competition for Oviposition Sites in Bean Beetles
Grace River West Melbourne FL Rain Dance of the Radiata: Behavior of the Endangered Radiated Tortoise and Related Species
Hoolahan Seamus Anaconda MT Feel the Power
Horton Krystal Menifee CA Agrilus Coxalis: The Gold Spotted Oak Borer
Iyer Dhruv Chandler AZ From the Playground to the Boardroom: Modified R-P-S Game as a Model for Negotiations with Constraints
Jones Cameron Portola Valley CA We're Jammin': Using the Jamming Principle to Construct a Universal Gripper
Kailey-Steiner Johann Denver CO Rocket Design, Part 3: Exploring How Vortex Generators Affect Boundary Layer Airflow
Kamat Rhea San Antonio TX Broccoli Power: Effect of Sulforaphane on Tadpole Development
McCoy Austin Rochester MN Designing and Validating Affordable, High Quality Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Laboratory Equipment for Developing Nations
Mohindra Smita Yorktown Heights NY Novel Strategies in the Treatment of Vertebrobasilar Insufficiency Using Sensors
Nolan Caroline Stuart FL Bee Happy, Bee Healthy: Improving the Health of Bee Hives
Sauer Julienne San Ramon CA Quantum Locking: The Future of Frictionless Motion
Sperry Nathaniel Falls Church VA When Carrots Turn Green... Literally!
Steele Hannah Bedford VA What's the Interplanetary Forecast: Can a Homemade Magnetometer Accurately Measure How the Interplanetary Magnetic Field Is Affected by Solar Storms?
Swintosky Megan Hatfield PA Novel Mutations in the FLCN Gene in Cases of Familial Spontaneous Pneumothoraces
Wallin Brenna Lexington KY Nuclear Nerka: Detection of Ionic Radiation in Pacific Sockeye Salmon
Weber Sean Sequim WA Strength of Mussel Byssal Threads vs. Wave Action
Wentzel Joshua Portland OR Going Ballistc! The Surprising Relationship of Reservoir Volume to Barrel Length and Reservoir Pressure in a Homemade Air Cannon
Womble Grant Tallahassee FL Blown Away by Biomimicry: Increasing the Efficiency of Wind Turbines through Biomimicry Enhanced Blade Design
Wu Katherine North Patomac MD The Association of Selling Sweets/Snacks at School and the Obese Rate at School


Broadcom MASTERS students

Learn more about the 300 semifinalists.


Learn more about the past winners of the Broadcom MASTERS.