Kensen Shi wins national Siemens Competition, $100,000 scholarship

Photo of Kensen ShiKensen Shi, a senior at A&M Consolidated High School and a visiting student member of Texas A&M University's Parasol Lab in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, won top honors and a $100,000 scholarship in the Seimens Competition Dec. 1-4 at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Shi recently was the individual winner of the Region Two Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology held in October at The University of Texas at Austin. He was one of three Region Two students named national finalists who competed with the individual winners of the five other regions in the national competition.

Shi won with his entry, "Lazy Toggle PRM: A Single-Query Approach to Motion Planning," in which he developed a computer algorithm that is faster and more effective in facilitating robot navigation.

Dr. Nancy Amato, professor and Parasol Lab's co-director, invited Shi to join Parasol Lab during his quest to find a Texas A&M computer science faculty mentor for his research. Kensen says that he "was inspired to do scientific research when I realized it would give me a chance to use my textbook knowledge to solve real-world problems and contribute to the scientific community." Ph.D. student and Parasol Lab researcher Jory Denny has been mentoring Kensen in research since he joined the lab and has helped him prepare for the competitions. A paper co-written by Denny, Shi and Amato has been submitted to a major robotics conference.

"Way to go Kensen! And great job to Jory for mentoring Kensen on his work withLazy Toggle PRM!" said Amato on hearing the announcement of the top individual honors.

Among Shi's accolades is his leadership of the Texas American Regional Mathematics League Gold Team, which placed 13th nationally. In the USA Computing Olympiad Gold Division he placed 21st nationally; and he was a US National Chemistry Olympiad finalist. He has also won many awards in the Houston Forum Young Artists Piano Competition. His academic goal is to become a professor and researcher in computer science.

The Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, the nation's foremost teen research competition, recognizes the brightest high school minds and supports their future academic and research endeavors. Through the Competition, regional and national finalists achieve national recognition for their science research projects and substantial scholarship monies.



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