Carmel sophomore earns scholarship at national science symposium
By Jessica Fox
Carmel High School sophomore Kamna Gupta recently presented her original scientific research at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium in Washington, D.C.
The symposium promotes research and experimentation in science, engineering and mathematics at the high school level. It also helps to recognize students who show outstanding achievement in these areas.
Kamna has spent the past two years in the laboratory being mentored by professor David L. Stocum, former dean of IUPUI, at the IUPUI Department of Biology.
Stocum said he recognized her potential and strong desire to learn, so he provided her with an opportunity to work in his laboratory.
He helped her write a research paper titled, “Elimination of Positional Discontinuity in Regenerating Limbs.”
The project required Kamna to research limb regeneration in axolotls, a type of Mexican salamander.
“This (project) would help us implement this kind of research in mammals or even humans to try to regenerate gaps in tissues or even appendages,” Kamna said.
Each year the symposium reaches out to more than 10,000 high school students, and only five are chosen to go to nationals from each state; only two get the opportunity to compete in the oral presentation at the symposium.
Kamna was first selected out of a group of 100 applicants to present her research at the state level. After this she was selected to be one of the two presenters at the national conference in Washington, D.C.
She competed against more than 280 students and she was awarded a $1,500 scholarship for her performance and research.
“I felt really excited and was looking forward for the unique opportunity as only two students were selected as the oral presenters for competing at national level. It was tough, competing against around 300 of this nation’s top researchers and while I didn’t rank, I felt fortunate to compete at nationals as only a sophomore and am still proud of my hard work and results,” Kamna said.