Congratulations to Yue (Yuki) Wang ’23 who has been selected as a top 300 scholar in the 82nd Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS) for her research project, “Investigation in U.S. Healthcare Referral System with Graph Neural Networks.” This year, 1,949 students from across the country entered the competition.
The Regeneron STS is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and mathematics competitions for high school seniors. As a top 300 scholar, Yuki has qualified for a $2,000 scholarship and the school will receive $2,000 to use toward STEM-related activities.
As a boarding student from China, Yuki was inspired to investigate the US healthcare system after noticing key differences between the healthcare systems in China and the US. In the US, many healthcare plans operate on a referral system in which patients must make an appointment with their primary care doctor, then receive a referral to see a specialist for secondary care. In China, however, a patient can see a specialist directly. “I started to have the idea of quantitatively evaluating this kind of referral process and improving the efficiency of the process,” Yuki said.
Yuki decided to use graph neural networks to study the referral system because the data set she worked with translated well into graphs. “The most important part of my research was doing model construction,” said Yuki. “There are different kinds of models within graph neural networks, and I needed to find out which one was the most accurate and best fit for my data set.”
During her junior year, Yuki took AP Statistics, which she credits with sparking her interest in data science. With the support of her math teacher, Julia Nickles ’03, Yuki worked on a capstone project that year investigating factors which may contribute to an autism-spectrum diagnosis. After completing this capstone, Yuki was inspired to dive into another project, which led to the development of her research project. Julia also supported Yuki as she worked on her Regeneron STS entry. Speaking about Julia’s support, Yuki shares, “Julia knows all of the projects I am doing. She knows all of my academic passions.”
“Yuki was a strong statistics student when I taught her last year,” commented Julia. “I’ve been impressed with the research projects she’s taken on independently, outside of her classes. I’m so proud of Yuki for achieving this recognition of her work.”
As Yuki applies to universities and reflects on her hopes for the future, her priority is to continue to focus on data science. She shared, “In the future, I want to do data science research related to health problems or urgent social issues to contribute to society.”
Read more about the Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS) here.