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Amador Valley senior among top honorees in Siemens Competition finals

Student's team project wins $30,000 scholarship

An Amador Valley High senior took one of the top honors earlier this month at the final round of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, a nationally known STEM event.

Sidharth Bommakanti's team won a $30,000 scholarship prize in the Siemens finals earlier this month, which will be used for college expenses. His team also included Daniel Chae from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va. and Alan Tan from Irvington High School in Fremont.

"It was an honor. The whole experience was entirely surreal," said Bommakanti, a 17-year-old Pleasanton resident.

His presentation was born from a research project he, Chae and Tan worked on while studying at a summer program at Stony Brook University in New York this summer.

Their project was a method of recreating bone and teeth in the human body by using 3D printed molds with dental stem cells injected inside, which would grow to take the shape of the mold, he said.

Bommakanti said the idea is to use this mechanism to regrow bones, cartilage and teeth, rather than relying on artificial implants. The mold itself is biodegradable, so it will dissolve once the material has formed, and dental stem cells avoid ethical issues commonly associated with stem cells since they're harvested from adults' wisdom teeth.

He said he plans to continue working on the project and will be awaiting college acceptance notifications in the spring.

Bommakanti's team secured one of six team awards, and six individual scholarships were also awarded. Scholarships were tired from $10,000 to $100,000, and a total of $500,000 in scholarship prizes were presented to students from across the U.S.

The Siemens Competition is hosted by the Siemens Foundation to promote STEM education. The competition began with 1,800 submitted projects and were narrowed down to regional finalists before the national finalists were selected.

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