Westfield student earns a top Mass. Science & Engineering Fair prize

Westfield High School senior Suvin Sundararajan. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

BOSTON – The 2021 Massachusetts Science & Engineering Fair (MSEF) announced on May 5 that Suvin Sundararajan, a senior at Westfield High School, won the MathWorks Prize, a first place prize, for the second year in a row.

Each year hundreds of Massachusetts high school students participate in this competition. The Fair was held virtually, with live judge interviews, and students had the opportunity to earn awards and prizes valued at $400,000+.

Sundararajan’s chemistry project “Photocurable Crosslinked-Resin for SLA and DLP 3D Printing” explores the efficacy of cross-linked photocurable resins using various additives, flame, retardants, and crosslinkers. It designs new resin for stereolithography (SLA) and digital light processing (DLP) based 3D printing.

This project is a continuation of sorts from projects he has submitted since ninth grade starting with biodegradable plastics and then focusing on environmentally friendly 3D printing materials. He has won awards along the way at local, regional, state and international science fairs.

Asked to translate this year’s title for the general public, Sundararajan said, “This project is about liquid based 3D printing, which uses resin instead of solid material. Currently, there’s very few flame retardant resins, so I made a material that cures with UV light. Unlike last year, this is a chemical based reaction using ultraviolet light with new materials, hence the cross linking. It is also stronger by a factor of ten and has double the improvement in flame retardance.”

At the State Fair, students presented their research, completed throughout the year, and were assessed by volunteer judges who reviewed each presentation and discussed the research and design work with the students via video conference. Winning projects are eligible for monetary awards, patent awards, college scholarships, research internships and other prizes. Major prizes were generously provided by Sanofi Genzyme, MathWorks, Eversource, and Fish & Richardson, along with many other science and technology based corporations and professional organizations.

“In a year that presented students with challenge upon challenge to their education, their commitment to the science fair process and their independent research was truly incredible,” said Helen Rosenfeld, executive director of MSEF. “I’m impressed with the ingenuity and talent of participating students. The students represented 64 Massachusetts public and private schools. They exhibited the `best of the best’ of research and innovation projects from across the Commonwealth.”

“The Westfield High School science department is super proud of Suvin and the work ethic and dedication he put forward during a really tough year,” said Lauren Figy Cadigan, supervisor of Science, Technology and Engineering for Westfield Public Schools.

“The entire school is tremendously proud of Suvin. This recognition puts an exclamation mark on what has truly been an extraordinary academic career. Suvin has worked so hard for everything and he definitely deserves all of the recognition and good things that have come his way,” said WHS Principal Charles Jendrysik.

Sundararajan will be attending Harvard University in the fall, with plans to study biomedical engineering and computer science.

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