Lillian Petersen Wins Top Prize at Virtual Regeneron Science Talent Search 2020

Lillian Petersen Wins Top Prize at Virtual Regeneron Science Talent Search 2020

Lillian Petersen, a Los Alamos High School Class of 2020 graduate, won the top prize in the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2020 contest with a $250,0000 award. The Regeneron Science Talent Search is  the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.

The competition took place virtually this year, in order to keep finalists and their families safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Forty finalists. The competition judges the competing students based on the scientific rigor of their projects, their exceptional problem-solving abilities and their potential to become scientific leaders. In this oldest and most prestigious STEM competition for high school seniors, more than $1.8 million was awarded to the  competition finalists.

Lillian has been a top finisher in the Supercomputing Challenge for the last few years and used her project from the Supercomputing Challenge for her entry.Lillian Petersen won first place for her invention of a simple tool used to predict harvests early in the growing season.

Lillan’s tool will help address global food insecurity by helping to improve planning for food distribution. The tool analyzes daily satellite images using accepted measures of vegetation health on known domestic crop data. She tested it on various countries in Africa and was able to successfully predict crop harvests with a high accuracy against reported yields.

Lillian plans to attend Harvard University in the fall and major in Computational Molecular Biology.

See the full press release at

The Supercomputing Challenge is supported by the New Mexico Consortium.

Article by Carrie Talus.