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NSHSS Passion Project Exhibition at Scholar's Day 2019 in Washington, D.C.

Many NSHSS members go above and beyond to give back or make the world a better place through innovation and service. NSHSS recognizes and awards members who are changing the world through our Passion Project Exhibition. On August 9th, 26 NSHSS members gathered at the Gaylord National Convention Center in Washington, D.C. to prepare their passion project presentations.

The 26 presenters had their project proposals reviewed and approved ahead of the event, but all came together at Scholar's Day D.C. 2019 to compete for scholarships. There were two categories: STEM & Innovation and World Betterment. Whether it was high school senior Alison Linares' design for a windmill that would produce clean energy to power her school or high school junior Adam Elkadi's discovery that worms biodegrade two major types of plastic, the projects inspired those in attendance.

After thoughtfully setting up their presentations, participants gave their presentations to attendees Friday night to prepare for the real presentation on Saturday. The next morning, exhibitors presented again for official judging. Each category was evaluated by a panel of three qualified judges. For the STEM & Innovation category, the judges were:

  • Andrea Smith, Vice President of Development at Scholarship America
  • Dr. Crystal Rose, Executive Director of Academic Affairs at OZY Media
  • Mark Sklarow, CEO of IECA

For World Betterment, the judges were:

  • Ana Luiza Farias, Senior Corporate Government Analyst for Latin America, Institutional Shareholder Services
  • Marcus Nobel, representative of the Nobel family
  • Sofia Gonzalez, NSHSS Educator of the Year

Judges carefully critiqued the presentations and spent well over an hour deliberating on which scholars would receive scholarships. Finally, they reached a consensus and the winners were selected. The winners were recognized later that day in the Member Recognition Ceremony. 


STEM & Innovation:

1st Place – Neeyanth Kopparapu

2nd Place – Megan Dass

3rd Place – Rishibrata Biswas


World Betterment:

1st Place – Haji Ali

2nd Place – Cameryn Saint-Preux

3rd Place – Ahdis Beruk

Grace Dent, Senior Coordinator of Partnerships & Events at NSHSS, and Tasman Rosenfeld, Yale freshman and former Passion Project winner, honored this year’s winners with their awards. The first place winners were awarded $1,000, second place received $500, and third place winners received $250 to use for the advancement of their projects. To learn more about our winners and their projects, head on over to our blog.

STEM & Innovation Winners

Neeyanth Kopparapu

Megan Dass

Rishibrata Biswas

World Betterment Winners

Haji Ali

Cameryn Saint-Preux

Ahdis Beruk

A Thank You from First Place Winner Neeyanth Kopparapu

Neeyanth Kopparapu sent a heart-felt "thank you" video to NSHSS. He shares the opportunities and benefits he has experienced through the Society from traveling abroad to Stockholm Sweden to winning scholarships like the Scholar's Day D.C. Passion Projects Exhibition! We want to say thank YOU, Neeyanth, for being a valuable NSHSS member and striving to create a better world through your projects, passions, and endeavors!