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Mathematics on Mount Ida and Beyond

By Sandra Santana
Junior year is always an incredibly busy time for high school students. Between entering the college search process and mounds of exams, time management becomes one of the most important lessons to learn. While it was a hectic time for all, Stella L. ’23 added a bit more of a challenge to her year by entering the esteemed Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).
Stella L. ’23 is no stranger to high stakes STEM competitions. With appearances in the New York State Mathematics League, American Computer Science League, and American Mathematics Competition, she has continued to demonstrate not only her innate knowledge, but her passion for it as well. This year, Stella pushed herself even further by entering the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).

The Regeneron ISEF, a program of Society for Science, is the world’s largest global high school science competition. Through a global network of local, regional, and national science fairs, millions of students are encouraged to explore their passion for scientific inquiry. Each spring, a group of these students are selected as finalists and offered the opportunity to compete for approximately $8 million in awards and scholarships. ISEF alumni have gone on to have world-changing careers in science and engineering and earn some of the most esteemed honors, including National Medal of Science recipients, MacArthur Foundation Fellows, National Academy of Sciences Members and National Academy of Engineering Inductees.

Stella’s entry into the Regeneron ISEF competition, From the Manhattan Project to Statistics of Zeros of L-Functions, solidified her not one, but two awards for her in-depth research and presentation. Stella was awarded the second Grand Award for the ISEF mathematics division and the Special Award Certificate of Honorable Mention, along with a one-year membership to the American Mathematical Society (AMS). In addition to the ISEF awards, Stella also received the regional Mu Alpha Theta award, U.S. Air Force Award, and an RPI scholarship for her impressive findings.

“Her work for ISEF would constitute an extremely impressive college undergraduate math paper,” shared Mathematics Instructor Alexandra Schmidt. Alexandra has mentored Stella throughout her Emma Willard School career, serving as her math instructor for a number of courses and advisor for the Albany Area Math Circle. Further exploring the wide-ranging field of number theory, Stella has also worked with Alexandra's support on analyzing and providing detailed proofs for the great mathematician Leonhard Euler's theorems on the relationships between geometric sequences and the remainders when their terms are divided by a prime number. These theorems start small and build in complexity, as she discusses in her Signature Project (website, video presentation).

The breadth and depth of Stella's interest in number theory have taken her from clarifying past work to creating future directions for exploration. We would like to congratulate Stella on her incredible efforts this year. We are looking forward to what comes next in her extremely bright mathematical journey. 
    • Stella L. '23

    • Stella’s entry into the Regeneron ISEF competition, From the Manhattan Project to Statistics of Zeros of L-Functions

    • Stella L. '23 competed in the Mathematics division of the 2022 Regeneron ISEF competition

    • Stella’s Signature Project

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Honoring its founder’s vision, Emma Willard School proudly fosters in each young woman a love of learning, the habits of an intellectual life, and the character, moral strength, and qualities of leadership to serve and shape her world.
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