2016 Winners


The Samueli Foundation Prize:


Eleanor Wren Sigrest, Woodbridge, VA
Rockets and Nozzles, and Thrusts, Oh My

Grand prize winner Eleanor Wren Sigrest was awarded the Samueli Foundation Prize for her mastery of STEM principles and team leadership, demonstrated throughout the rigorous weeklong competition.

Inspired to learn about cold gas rockets after the SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket explosion, Eleanor built equipment to force pressurized gas through different nozzles made with a 3-D printer. After collecting data on force, pressure and temperature, her conclusion of a 20-degree half-angle was the best compromise between a nozzle’s length and its thrust.


Marconi/Samueli Award for Innovation:


Kaien Yang, Chantilly, VA
iDiagnostic: Invention of an Early Detection Tool for Major Depressive Disorder

Kaien Yang was awarded the Marconi/Samueli Award for Innovation for his vision and promise as an innovator who, in the spirit of radio inventor Guglielmo Marconi, demonstrated aptitude and skill in technical and mathematical concepts both with his science fair project and throughout team challenges.

Kaien developed an app called iDiagnostic that can predict the risk for mental illness with an accuracy of 93 percent. Combining a psychological evaluation with data from magnetic resonance imaging, Kaien’s work found a link between Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and shrinkage of an area called the limbic system.


Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Advancement


Aria Eppinger, Pittsburgh, PA
Roundup’s Effect on Human Gut Bacteria

Aria Eppinger was awarded the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Advancement for her promise in a health-related field. Aria tested the effect of residue from a common weed killer on human gut bacteria that showed it slowed growth of beneficial bacteria, throwing off the good-bad gut bacteria in people and potentially leading to serious diseases.


Lemelson Award for Innovation:


Nathan Deng, San Marino, CA
Drop by Drop: Manipulating the Surface Tension of Water to Find the Best Way of Cleaning

Nathan Deng was awarded the Lemelson Award for Innovation for seeking to solve a real-world problem like effective cleaning through an invention. Nathan built a device to measure surface tension of water with a syringe, flexible tubing, a thermometer and a precise scale. By lowering surface tension, water can permeate through the crevices of dirty objects and lead to more effective cleaning.




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 are awarded $3,500 and second-place winners receive $2,500, in each case to support the finalist’s choice of STEM summer camp experiences offered around the country. Each STEM winner also wins an iPad®.


Science Award

First place: Ananya Ganesh, of Sandy Springs, Georgia for her competition skills and project on designing a non-invasive way to measure electric signals from a person’s jaw muscle to treat bruxism, a painful condition in which people clench the jaw or grind teeth.
Second place: Cynthia Chen, of Cupertino, Calif., for her competition skills and project to reduce water consumption in germinating seeds.

Technology Award

First place: Adishree Ghatare, of San Jose, Calif., for her competition skills and project design – the development of an app as a learning platform for learning and remembering vocabulary words.
Shreya Ramachandran, of Fremont, Calif., for her competition skills and project on testing the effects of laundry wastewater on aquatic life.

Engineering Award

First place: Brendan Crotty, of Muskogee, Oklahoma, for his competition skills and his project on insulating materials for a gas forge.
Second place: Emhyr Subramanian, of Aurora, Colorado, for his competition skills and project on super-absorbent polymers to remove organic waste from water in an environmentally friendly and effective manner.

Mathematics Award

First place: Anushka Naiknaware, of Portland, Oregon, for her competition skills and project on wound management.
Second place: Olivia Lazorik, of Fort Pierce, Fla., for her competition skills and her project on climate change.

Rising Stars Award

In recognition of their contributions throughout the 2016 Broadcom MASTERS finals, as well as their projects on the aerodynamic characteristics for flight on Mars, and dark matter, respectively, James Fagan of Riverside, California, and Ashini Modi of Shreveport, Louisiana, win a trip to Los Angeles as the U.S. Delegates to Broadcom MASTERS International and Official Observers of the 2017 Intel ISEF the world’s largest international high school science and engineering fair.

Team Award

The Broadcom MASTERS Team Award was awarded to the Purple 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®.
Purple Team members: Nathan Deng, Aria Eppinger, Anushka Naiknaware, Rachel Pizzolato, Lucas Ritzdorf

Scott A. McGregor Leadership Award


The Scott A. McGregor Leadership Award is presented to the finalist who is elected by his or her peers to represent them as their Broadcom MASTERS Class Speaker.
Twice selected as a Broadcom MASTERS finalist Nikolai Ortiz, of Corpus Christi, Texas, was presented with the Scott A. McGregor Leadership Award for his talent, enthusiasm, collegiality and generosity of spirit of a leader.

This award honors former Broadcom President and Chief Executive Officer and founding Chairman of the Broadcom Foundation Scott McGregor, who enthusiastically championed the Broadcom MASTERS and is passionate advocate for science fair competition and project-based learning as essential to development of 21st century skills.



Broadcom Foundation and Society for Science & the Public present the 30 middle school finalists who will compete in the sixth annual Broadcom MASTERS® competition. The 14 girls and 16 boys are from 14 states and represent 29 schools. The finalists win an all-expense paid trip to the Silicon Valley and will compete for cash and experiential prizes.

Finalists were selected by a panel of distinguished scientists and engineers from among 300 semifinalists and 2,230 applicants in 39 states and American Samoa.

2016 Finalist PDF

Winners were announced in October 2016.