The Tale of the High School Astronomer

Meet Ana Humphrey. She hasn’t graduated from high school yet, but she’s already discovered 560 places outside our solar system where we could find hidden planets. Ana won the 2019 Regeneron Science Talent Search with her project that used a mathematical model to pinpoint locations for exoplanet search parties. But Ana’s story is more than a successful science fair project. Find out how Ana’s love for science, math, and making a difference in her community helped her become a high school astronomer!

Jessica Yurinko/Society for Science & the Public

This is the moment Ana found out that she won the 2019 Regeneron Science Talent Search, a national math and science competition sponsored by Regeneron and Society for Science and the Public. In the video below, she describes the feeling of winning as "a dream come true. Actually, this isn't even a dream come true, because I couldn't have even dreamed that this could happen."

Ana's project won out of a pool of 40 finalists, pictured below on the US Capital steps.

Find out the trends in science fair science, according to an analysis of over 19,000 science fair projects.

Chris Ayers/Society for Science & the Public

Read more about Ana's project, and the other finalists in this Science News for Students article:

The top three winners in the 2019 Regeneron Science Talent Search all took on their own unsolved mysteries. One hunted for planets in other solar systems that may have snuck past big telescopes. Another uncovered hiding places where HIV — the virus that causes AIDS — likes to lurk. A third, frustrated by an “unsatisfying” answer, tackled a complicated math problem.

Chris Ayers/Society for Science & the Public

Want to participate in science fair? Start with your science teacher - they'll help connect you with resources. Regeneron STS isn't the only science fair game in town. There's also the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair, Google Science Fair, USA Science & Engineering Festival, and many more.

But watch out for videos and websites that promise "the best science fair projects" or "tips and tricks for winning." If you already know how your science fair project is going to turn out, it's probably not real science! Also, science isn't about winning - it's about discovery. We are ALL winners in discovery! (Seriously, though.)

Also, there's a Science Fair documentary! We want to see it.