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Saline High School student wins $250,000 national award for scientific research

Neil Mougdal, the one with the shocked look on his face, moments after being announced as the winner of the Regeneron Science Talent Search in Washington D.C.
Neil Mougdal
Neel Mougdal, the one with the shocked look on his face, moments after being announced as the winner of the Regeneron Science Talent Search in Washington D.C.

A Saline High School student has won one of the country’s most prestigious awards for scientific research.

Neel Mougdal is a senior at Saline High School, and he spent the last two years researching the structure of RNA molecules. His research could ultimately make it easier to diagnose and treat various diseases, like cancer.

He entered the Regeneron Science Talent Search, which is described as the country’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition.

Out of the few thousand high school seniors who apply nationally, 300 were chosen to be Regeneron scholars. Of those, he was among 40 finalists that were sent to Washington D.C. where his research endured a 3-day judging process.

Mougdal said it was a stressful but fulfilling process.

“But also something that I thought was very formative, in the sense that it really kind of developed scientific thought in a very nice way and also, in a lot of ways, was just a growth experience for me to kind of go through a process like that, which is quite unique.”

For winning, Mougdal was awarded a $250,000 prize. After high school, he will enroll at the University of Michigan, where he will major in biophysics and have a double major in statistics.

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Josh Hakala is the general assignment reporter for the WEMU news department.
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