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Sleepy Hollow Students Among Top Scholars Chosen in Regeneron Science Competition

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January 8, 2021

By Robert Kimmel–

Two Sleepy Hollow students were among 300 pupils chosen nationwide as top scholars in the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2021.  Maya Weitzen, a senior at Sleepy Hollow High School and Owen Dugan, a homeschooler, each received $2,000, as will their schools.

The 300 students were selected from 1,760 applications received from 610 high schools across the nation and ten other countries; and if chosen on January 21 to be among 40 finalists, they will compete in March for $1.8 million dollars in awards, including a first prize of $250,000 provided by Regeneron, which is headquartered in Tarrytown.


“Scholars were chosen based on their exceptional research skills, commitment to academics, innovative thinking and promise as scientists,” according to the announcement by the Society for Science which conducts the competition.  It is considered the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. It “celebrates the hard work and novel discoveries of young scientists who are bringing a fresh perspective to significant global challenges,” the Society states.

Maya Weitzen’s project for the competition was titled “High-Throughput Discovery and Validation of Cancer-Testis (CT) Antigen and Neoantigen HLA-Presented Peptides in Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinomas (NSCLC).”

Owen Dugan’s project was “Astronomy Will Not Trail Off: Novel Methods for Removing Satellite Trails from Celestial Images.”

Hala Mirza, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Citizenship at Regeneron, praised the students as “an exceptional group of student leaders and innovators…with an array of projects that demonstrate the power of science.”

“We are honored to celebrate the next generation of young scientists and inventors who can elevate the STEM community and our broader society through their high-quality research and novel discoveries,” said Mirza. “These are the inspiring problem solvers who will help address the current and future challenges facing our world.”

“The remarkable drive, creativity and intellectual curiosity that each one of these scholars possesses represents a hopeful outlook for our future and our collective wellbeing,” noted Maya Ajmera, President and CEO of Society for Science, which publishes “Science News, and is herself an alum of the 1985 Science Talent Search.  “At a time when many students’ educational experiences are being disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, I am incredibly humbled to see gifted young scientists and engineers eager to contribute fresh insights to solving the world’s most intractable problems, she commented. ”

Sleepy Hollow’s Maya Weitzen in her lab

Past participants in the program include winners of some of the most prestigious honors in science and math, including 13 Nobel Prize winners, 11 National Medals of Science recipients, Six Breakthrough Prizes, 21 MacArthur Foundation Fellowships and Two Fields Medals.

On The Hudson by Tom Sobolik



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