What Ishann Javali and Shrey Joshi are doing in their Plano homes isn't what you'd expect from many high schoolers. The two students from Plano East Senior High School are designing an app to help diagnose an eye disease.
It's their science fair project, a far cry from the poster board solar systems many of us made.
"We definitely wanted to do something that would help people, and diabetes is one of those ideas that came to mind," said Javali. "My grandfather has diabetes. It's one of the things that helped me come up with the idea."
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Concern over his grandfather is how their project started, but the app will wrap up with some help.
"They don't have the resources. They don't have the money. They don't have the people to help them support achieving their goals," said Kevin Ming, who's in his freshman year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The former Plano student should be making friends on campus like most freshmen, but the COVID-19 pandemic has him learning virtually from home in Texas.
He's volunteering time to help students like Javali and Joshi.
It's part of the Association for Young Scientists and Innovators, a student-led nonprofit created to help young scientists chase their dreams with support from older students.
"In the past, if you had a science fair project you could meet with teachers. You could get their help. Now, it's much harder to do that, Ming said. "Now, through the online medium we're offering, it allows students to connect despite the pandemic."
Students from any school who have a love for science and research can get involved and help or be helped.
The organization charges for their mentoring but donates all the money to research, projects, camps and workshops at schools that don't have robust science programs.