Jonas Sun ’25 earns second-place at Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair

Jonas Sun ’25 captured a second-place award during the world’s largest pre-college STEM competition with his app, which makes communication more accessible for people with motor neuron disease. 

Jonas was recognized during a May 17 awards ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center, the last day of the Society for Science’s Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair.

He placed in the computer science category for Gaze Link, a mobile eye-tracking communication system for people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly called ALS. 

Jonas received two sponsor awards: second place from the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and third from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. 

Andrew Huang ’26 also qualified for the competition with his project examining “self-assembling chimeric polypeptides as drug-carrying nanoparticles for cancer chemotherapy.” 

“To have two students representing Webb at such a huge and prestigious international competition is incredibly exciting! We are very proud of Jonas and Andrew for their dedication to science research and their phenomenal accomplishments,” said Lisa Nacionales, chair of the science department. 

The students completed their projects with the guidance of Nacionales and Dr. Joe Martin, co-leads of the science research program at Webb. Jonas’ work partially took shape during coursework with Professor Zach Dodds at Harvey Mudd College. 

Jonas said artificial intelligence played an essential role in his project.  

“First, I used AI models to accurately detect the user’s face and eyes in real time. Second, it notably improves the efficiency of eye typing. Instead of typing all the words in a sentence, the user only has to type out keywords, and my app predicts the rest with Large Language Models (LLMs), a type of AI program,” he said. 

Jonas and Andrew qualified for the ISEF after earning awards at the Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair. Just seven students from across the county met the requirements for this year’s ISEF competition. 

“It is exciting to see our students’ cutting-edge research celebrated in such a prestigious forum,” Head of School Dr. Theresa Smith said. “In an era when there is so much misuse of technology, Jonas and Andrew are demonstrating the power of human-centered AI and scientific research. Both students are a testament to our mission, and we couldn’t be more proud of their work.” 

Other Webb ISEF nominees include Melissa Lee ’27 and Alexander Lee ’26 for their joint physics project, as well as Tony Gao ’26 for chemistry.   

Last year, Webb’s Garry Zhang ’24 and Sehoon Kang ’24 qualified for ISEF in Dallas and placed fourth in the chemistry division after winning first place at the LACSEF.

May 24, 2024

16:29 PM PDT