Congratulations to Ethan Shlossberg ’26, who has been named one of the most promising STEM students in the nation! He will compete for more than $100,000 in awards and participate in an in-person competition in Washington, D.C. from October 28-November 2 as one of the thirty finalists in the Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars) competition. Finalists were selected from 1,807 entrants and come from 28 schools in 12 states.
Broadcom MASTERS is the nation’s premier STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) middle school competition. Ethan was an eighth-grade student at Holicong Middle School when he first entered the competition with his research question, “Quail Egg Patterns: Unique to a Quail?” For his project, Ethan knew he wanted to do a research project about animals as an aspiring zoologist and came up with a concept that could help his friend’s family farm where they raise quail.
“My friend was having a problem where sometimes one quail was producing amazing eggs, and another one just wasn’t producing that much,” said Ethan. “He really wanted to know which quail was which, so I thought of the idea that maybe the patterns on the eggs mattered, and that you could match them to other eggs from the same bird.”
Ethan used coding, machine learning software, and artificial intelligence (AI) to distinguish different quail egg patterns and identify which birds were laying the largest eggs over the course of three months (October 2021- January 2022). He used Amazon Rekognition as the machine learning tool to aid in the pattern matching of the eggs. Each of the twelve birds had about 7-10 eggs Ethan photographed for the study. “The hardest parts of the project were getting the pictures of the egg and making the recognition software do what I wanted it to do,” Ethan commented. “To get an accurate representation of the egg, I had to get a picture of it from every angle. I set up a camera and a stand for the egg and I rotated each egg a couple of times after I took each photo.”
Once he had the data he needed, the next step was figuring out how everything worked. “It felt like putting a puzzle together,” he said. He used Microsoft Excel to create charts and graphs to visually map out the data. During the upcoming competition, he will present his tri-fold to a group of judges to share his process and research findings. “I’m also looking forward to meeting the other contestants this fall, seeing their projects, and getting to know them,” shared Ethan.
While his George School career is just beginning, Ethan is excited about the possibilities it holds, both academically and socially. He’s looking forward to exploring the sciences, beginning with Intensive Chemistry later this year. He’s curious to learn more about the International Baccalaureate Program. But, he says, the community is what most convinced him to make George School his next chapter. So he’s jumped in, already joining the Plant, Tabletop, and Biochemistry Clubs. “The other week, we [Plant Club] went to the greenhouse and planted plants in the garden and saw the green rooftop of the Fitness and Athletics Center,” he shared.
“I am excited about Ethan’s well-deserved success as a finalist in the Broadcom MASTERS competition,” said his advisor Kathleen O’Neal. “I look forward to seeing how he applies and develops his STEM skills in his future courses here at George School, but I’m also excited to see how he embraces our community. He is a wonderful addition to the George School family!”