Having Success Down to a Science

After many months of research and testing for their projects, Amogh Bhatnagar’s ’20 and Neil Dogra’s ’21 efforts paid off when they earned prestigious awards for their hard work.

AMOGH BHATNAGAR ’20

Amogh Bhatnagar ’20 was one of just 40 high school seniors nationwide to be named a Regeneron Science Talent Search Finalist in January. For his project, he used statistical models to compare data from more than 50,000 laparoscopic appendectomies and open appendectomies in pediatric patients. Bhatnagar was able to compare the cost-effectiveness of both procedures while controlling for demographics like age and gender.

“What I found is that, in pediatric patients at least, the laparoscopic method shortens hospital stays by
only about one half of one day, and costs patients about $4,000 more on average,” said Bhatnagar. Open appendectomies, therefore, often yield similar results as laparoscopic ones, but for a lower cost to patients and hospitals. Bhatnagar is the second USM senior in a row to be named a Regeneron Finalist. Last year, Aayush Karan ’19 was named a finalist and traveled to Washington, D.C. to present his work.

NEIL DOGRA ’21

Neil Dogra ’21 received first place in the Wisconsin Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS),
held in late January, and he also earned recognition as a Presidential Scholar. For his project, Dogra studied the corrosion properties of ductile iron piping, which is commonly used by water utilities for potable water transmission, and identified which chemical composition allows for optimal corrosion resistance.

Dogra worked with Dr. Pradeep Rohatgi, a Wisconsin Distinguished Professor and the director of the UWM Composite Center at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, on his research. “I failed a lot at first, but Dr. Rohatgi gave me the independence to grow as a researcher and to gain the confidence to run my own experiments,” said Dogra. In 2019, Dogra earned the Grand Award Recognition, Best of Fair at the Badger State Engineering and Science Fair, and he also earned the First Award in Engineering for his project.

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