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Brittany Wenger. Courtesy photo.
East County Wednesday, Jun. 20, 2012 9 years ago

Ranch teen advances in Google competition

by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Seventeen-year-old Brittany Wenger’s knack for science may revolutionize breast-cancer detection and earn her international honors along the way.

The Lakewood Ranch teenager, who is an upcoming senior at The Out-of-Door Academy, recently was named one of 15 finalists in the Google Science Fair competition, which received thousands of entries from more than 100 countries around the world.

Wenger’s entry, called Global Neural Network Cloud Service for Breast Cancer, allows doctors to determine whether a breast-cancer tumor is malignant or benign by using attributes from fine-needle aspirates, a type of biopsy. The program, Wenger said, has a 99.1% rate of diagnosing malignancy correctly.

“I’m super excited about being selected as a Google Science Fair finalist, and I’m also really excited about the potential my program has to make breast-cancer diagnostics less invasive for women involved,” Wenger said.

“This has been a two-year project,” she said, adding she entered the Google Science Fair competition with her project two times previously but has made improvements to it. “I’m still working on it.”

Wenger will head to Google’s California headquarters July 21, for Google’s Science Fair event and the final judging, which will take place July 23. Wenger and the other finalists will present their projects to a panel of acclaimed scientists and technology visionaries, and one winner will be selected from each of three age categories: 13 to 14, 15 to 16 and 17 to 18. One of the top finalists will be crowned with the grand-prize title.

Wenger has earned several other accomplishments in recent weeks, including taking the Grand World Champion title in the Senior Division Community Problem Solving competition, with her teammates, at the International Future Problem Solving Conference, for their project on job preparedness. She also took first place in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for community science in May.

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

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