Advancing computing education globally

Oracle Academy Award Winners Inspire Oracle Judges with Quality Projects

Denise Hobbs
Regional Director, North America

At the 2018 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) event on May 17, Oracle Academy presented US$5,000 scholarship awards to each of ten talented winners who had embedded computer science into their abstracts in the system software category.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public, is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. Through a global network of local, regional, and national science fairs, millions of students are encouraged to explore their passion for developing innovations that improve the way we work and live. Each May, a group of these students is selected as finalists and offered the opportunity to compete for approximately US$5 million in awards and scholarships.

This year’s event took place May 13-18 in Pittsburgh and featured inventions from nearly 800 young innovators. Oracle Academy awards were presented by Oracle Academy’s Danielle Ferretti, Manager, Suite Academy. Finalists were selected by the following judges from the Pittsburgh area, all who volunteered their time and have technical backgrounds.

  • Lead judge, Bruce Regittko, Principal Instructor, Oracle Academy
  • Christine Falconer, Risk Management Director, Oracle
  • Sharjeel Farooq, Technology Sales Representative, Oracle
  • David Pawloski, Solution Architect, Oracle
  • Vasu Rao, Director, Product Strategy for Software Support Development, Oracle
  • Daniel Abeshouse, Carnegie Mellon University

Farooq said, “This was my first time attending/judging this event. I was blown away with the talent I saw. It was simply an amazing experience.” Judges were required to be science, engineering and industry professionals who hold a Ph.D. or equivalent (six years of related professional experience) or are senior graduate students with doctoral-level research in one of the 22 scientific disciplines in which projects fall.

And the Winners Are…

Fair finalists in all categories were selected from 420 affiliate fairs in 81 countries, regions and territories. Oracle Academy Award winners of $5,000 for outstanding project in the systems software category were:

Background Noise Reduction by Using Spectral Selection to Remove Unneeded Frequencies
Kevin Xiao, Tuscaloosa, AL – Alabama School of Mathematics and Science, Teacher Grey Gaillard

A Sensor-Enhanced Digital Stethoscope (SEDS): Design and Development of an Intelligent Sensor-Enhanced Digital Stethoscope for Patient-Friendly Remote Auscultation
Syamantak Payra, Friendswood, TX – Clear Brook High School, Teacher Alaina Garza

Using SONAR, LIDAR, and Computer Vision to Assist the Visually-Impaired
Samuel Cadotte, Kailua, HI – Kalaheo High School, Teacher Crystal Stafford

Implementing Deep Learning Techniques to Detect Abnormal Cells
Gaurav Behera, Rochester, MN – Century High School, Teacher Janelle Milliken

Creation of a Mobile Application to Enhance Communication in Children with Autism
Joshua Santiago-Ibarra, Trujillo Alto, PR – Escuela Especializada en Ciencias, Matemáticas y Tecnología, Teacher Jenipher Gonzalez

Javid and Jeyla Huseynzade, Baku, Azerbaijan – Lyceum Academician Zarifa Aliyev, Teacher Vugar Huseynli

AzureVoice: A Novel Approach for the Early Detection of Parkinson's Disease Using Android Apps and Artificial Intelligence
Koushik Sridhar, Charlotte, NC – Ardrey Kell High School, Teacher Rachel Robinson

Wireless Brainwave Classification for Alzheimer's Patients via Efficient Neural Network Computation
Grant Sheen, Irvine, CA – Sage Hill School, Teacher Annalise Miyashiro

Utilizing Blockchain to Revolutionize Privacy and Security of Medical Records
Divya Amirtharaj, Beaverton, OR – Westview High School, Teacher Debbie Cooper

Pawloski said, “These impressive students represent hope for our world’s future and I’m so proud to have had a small role, representing Oracle, Pittsburgh and higher education.”


Innovators Solving Global Challenges

Guided by the belief that advances in science and engineering are key to solving global challenges, Society for Science & the Public has organized and produced this competition since it was founded in 1950 as the National Science Fair. Intel took on title sponsorship of the International Science and Engineering Fair in 1997 as part of an effort to bring greater attention to science, technology, engineering, and math achievement, encourage more youth to embrace these fields, and highlight the impact these subjects have on the future of innovation.

Maya Ajmera, President & CEO of the Society for Science & the Public and Publisher of

Science News, said, “The innovative ideas presented at Intel ISEF demonstrate the power of scientific curiosity and the desire for all of our finalists to make the world a better place.”

“I regularly mentor graduate and post-graduate future entrepreneurs—and I was astonished and impressed by the professionalism, maturity and expertise demonstrated by these high school students,” Rao said. “This filled my heart with hope for the future of this world with so many developing bright minds trying to make a positive impact with their innovation and enthusiasm,” he said. “I’ll look forward to more such events sponsored by Oracle Academy. We, Oracle, as a company, definitely need to do more to encourage the younger generation to use Oracle technologies by providing them with the tools and platform they need to develop these ideas.”

Falconer said, “I felt lucky to be there and to represent Oracle; we are fortunate to have leaders who believe in investing in the future,” she said. “A moment I would like to share: As I walked down a long, empty corridor with a large wall display of all the hundreds of ISEF finalist names listed with their “Think Beyond” motto, I came upon someone who was sitting alone on a bench contemplatively looking at the display. I stopped to ask if she was a finalist. She immediately got up and pointed to her name, and said she was representing the Philippines. Her actions and words spoke of honor, appreciation and self-satisfaction of coming this far. I walked away feeling that she will make a difference in this world… like so many others there.” 

As Oracle’s flagship philanthropic educational program, Oracle Academy advances computer science education globally to drive knowledge, innovation, skills development, and diversity in technology fields. Supporting more than 3.5 million students annually in 120 countries, the program works with public and private partners to provide the tools educators need to engage, inspire and prepare students to become innovators and leaders of the future.

Content submitted by: Rebecca Dinan Schneider

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Comments ( 1 )
  • Kathleen Pallardy Monday, July 30, 2018
    I am proud to work for a company like Oracle that invests in our youth by encouraging them to use their imagination, skills and resources to tackle some of our largest global concerns.
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