Samaira - How Did I Get Here?!?!

It was in my eighth-grade science class that I learned about the fatality rate of ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, my science teacher's mother died due to this disease. Like her, about 300,000 cases of ovarian cancer are confirmed each year, and tragically 200,000 of those patients die. I have always been inclined towards and fascinated by some of the technologies in our world today. When I was 11, I developed a mechanism to simplify complex concepts like artificial intelligence into something any kid could understand. I created a board game called CoderMindz, for which I have earned several awards including the Davidson Fellows Honorable Mention.

Being the youngest person to earn this award has inspired me to continue using AI's power to profoundly impact the world around me. Therefore, when I learned about how deadly ovarian cancer is because it is not precisely diagnosed for each patient, I decided to put my depth of knowledge in AI to aid doctors in precisely detecting ovarian cancer features, so targeted therapies could be applied to save lives. When I discussed my solution with my teacher, she was beyond amazed. She explained how this idea has a lot of potentials, and if her mother had a tool like this, her prognosis plan could be a lot more targeted for her condition.

              

My teacher's belief and support in me and my idea were highly motivating and inspired me to submit my project to the 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Earning a spot as a finalist would help me gain financial support and advice from industry experts who could help me further my idea, so I could genuinely make an impact on the world around me. 

As I started my application in February 2022, there were several exciting components. One of my favorite parts included creating the entry video. I was able to compress a vast idea into a 2-minute video, which pushed me to create a comprehensive but concise summary of my work. I greatly appreciated how the 3MYSC allowed for lots of creative freedom with your entry, so I got to overlay different compartments, including my code and final demo, as I spoke about my project. Moreover, I needed to answer a set of questions, which would only appear on a page if I were a finalist. I remember looking through past years' finalists' pages and thinking about how that could never be me. And so if June Samaira told February Samaira that she is a 3M finalist and has her very own page, she would be in utter shock. In the months after I submitted my application, I was eager to find out the results and remained hopeful. When I got the call telling me I was a 3M Top 10 Young Scientist, I was extremely thrilled and could hardly believe it. My friends and family were super excited for me, and we look forward to the final event this October. Until then, I will be working under the guidance of my super cool mentor Ms. Stephanie Bowen, and I'll keep you updated on the progress of my final project.