Winner to compete in the International Competition in San Diego this summer for a chance to win a cash prize

The Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization (iBIO) is proud to announce that Maya Souden, Junior from Oak Park and River Forest High School earned first place at the Illinois BioGENEius Challenge which was held in Chicago. iBIO, the trade association that represents the 88,000 jobs in Illinois’ life sciences sector, hosts the competition, where high school students explore new ideas in biotechnology to address challenges in agriculture, human health, the environment, and even life during a pandemic. The BioGENEius Challenge is considered one of the premier science competitions for high school students, recognizing outstanding research in biotechnology locally, nationally and internationally.

Souden was selected from among 12 Illinois high school student semi-finalists for her research that focused on Extravascular Pneumatic Device for Variable Aortic Occlusion: Proof-of-Concept Design and Testing. This year, students from across the state submitted projects that researched medical, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology. These projects were required to align with one of the three challenge areas: global healthcare, global sustainability or global environment. Employees from CG Life, Endotronix and Medline served as judges for the competition.

 “Preparing for the competition blurs together in my memory as a lot of late nights reading dense research materials and a LOT of setbacks in the experimental process. Keeping my goal in mind always helped, though: presenting at competitions like BioGENEius. It was such an honor to present and move on to the international level— this has been my goal for so long that it’s really surreal to finally be here. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do that” Maya Souden, Junior from Oak Park and River Forest High School

 “iBIO is proud to host this event to showcase the incredible talents and outstanding research of our state’s high school students,” said Ann Vogel, Senior Vice President of Charitable Programs at iBIO. “We certainly will be following Maya as she competes at the International BioGENEius Competition–and we’re confident that they’ll have a positive impact on future biotech research and discovery.”

 In the next phase, Souden will represent Illinois in the International BioGENEius Competition June 13-16 in San Diego. The top three competitors will receive cash prizes. The International BioGENEius Competition brings together the best and brightest students from the United States and other countries and is regarded as the most prestigious high school sciences competition in the world for original research in biotechnology.