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Fox Lane High School Senior Named Regeneron Scholar

Fox Lane's Kenny Poor named Regeneron scholar

Imagine a world where everyone could monitor their blood pressure with a cell phone. Fox Lane High School senior Kenny Poor, who was recently named a scholar in the 2020 Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition, hopes to make this a more accessible reality.

Poor was one of 300 scholars selected from 1,993 applications received from 659 high schools across 49 states. His project, “Implementation and Refinement of Oscillometric Finger Pressing Cuff-less Blood Pressure Measurement on Mobile Phones,” attempts to expand on preexisting technology to help more people.

“There is an existing iPhone application for the iPhone X that estimates blood pressure using various sensors on the phone,” said Poor. “My project helped improve and expand on this application to make it available for older phones.”

Poor’s project uses both the camera and the screen to measure force. The application requires users to place fingers on both. It collects data, guiding users along throughout the process.

The idea for Poor’s project stemmed from a family history of hypertension.

“My family is lucky enough to have access to medical facilities and medication,” he explained. Realizing that others are not as privileged and that existing cuff measurements can be inaccurate, Poor sought to improve the technology.

“I was looking to new technology without the use of the cuff and to see if I could use this to expand access to blood pressure measurement for people who don’t have as much access to health care.“

Poor’s Science Research teacher, Stephanie Peborde Burke, is so proud of him and the effort he puts into everything he does.

“Kenny is a bright, science-minded individual, and this comes through in the way he pursues his work,” she said. “He does very well in school, but is quite humble. I believe his peers and teachers admire him for his work ethic, accomplishments, and drive. This past summer, Kenny took on two science research projects. One was his Regeneron Science Talent Search project where he worked with Dr. Ramakrishna Mukkamala at Michigan State University, and the other was a project he conducted at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center under the supervision of Mr. Paul Booth. With all of this on his plate, Kenny maintained a calm approach about his work.”

Going into his project, Poor was exploring a possible future path to see how he felt about it. He emerged from the process excited to explore more.

“I enjoyed getting to work with real researchers and seeing their process and experience,” Poor said. “I am more interested in the electrical engineering and biomedical engineering technology that I learned about. I like the design process, being able to design your own solution to things.”

When asked if he had any advice for other budding scientists, Poor shared a thought that is helpful universally.

“You miss all the shots you don’t take,” he said with a small smile. “If you’re interested, contact people, talk to them about it. See if you can set something up over the summer or get some sort of experience. Also, remember that it is a learning experience. If you like it and it works out, great. If it doesn’t, now you know what your thoughts about that field or that experience are.”

If a student is interested in science, Fox Lane’s Science Research program is a great place to start.

“Students are the drivers of the content. There is no set curriculum. They just need to stay on track with their work so they are able to apply to, and present, at science fairs and symposia,” said Peborde Burke. “In developing their ideas for research topics, students often think about how they can contribute to the scientific community and ultimately the world to make it a better place. Throughout the program, students develop skills in communication, technical writing, public speaking, graphic design and others that are useful in high school and beyond.”