Rising star: Ward Melville senior takes 3rd place in Regeneron Science talent search competition
Amber Luo is a Ward Melville High School senior who finished third in the prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search.
She's also the only New Yorker to crack the top 10 and will earn $150,000.
"This is something that I love. This is something that gives me confidence," Luo says.
She developed a software called RiboBayes that can help researchers gain a better view of underlying health conditions, like Alzheimer's and cancer. It's complicated but Luo loves it.
"Science and biology and math has been my whole life. I couldn't imagine my life without my research," she says.
Luo was one of 40 finalists and who went through three days of judging in Washington, D.C. where top scientists grilled her about her project. She says it was exhilarating just being around the other competitors.
"We're all like crazy teenagers. We all love science. The energy was overwhelming," Luo recalls.
Her adviser at the school, Dr. Marnie Kula, always knew Luo was special.
"We refer to her as our resident unicorn because she really is the whole package. She is intrinsically driven," Kula says. "She is naturally brilliant."
Luo has not decided where she will go to college yet, but she has narrowed her choice down to two schools.
"I got into both MIT and Harvard. Right now, I'm just trying to figure out which one calls to me more," she says.
Luo will be in Syracuse later this month to compete in the New York State Science Olympiad.