Senior Nihal Saxena Garners Presidential Scholars Nomination

Nora Ferro, Staff Writer

Hillsborough High School senior Nihal Saxena was recently nominated for the Presidential Scholars award along with five of his peers. This prestigious award is extremely difficult to obtain and is a display of his hard work and dedication throughout his academic career and in his extracurricular activities.

For being only seventeen years old, Saxena has already accomplished so much in a variety of fields. As Vice President of the school’s Robotics team, he is responsible for organizing meetings and leading his peers to reach their common goals. This team has been his favorite part of high school because he has been able to work in a group on mechanical engineering projects and learn more about machinery each year. As one of the team’s leaders, Saxena also ran a summer session for incoming freshmen who were interested in joining the team but had trouble determining which technical sub-team they found most appealing.

This past summer, Saxena also participated in an Artificial Intelligence internship with Avira Digital in which over the course of four weeks, he taught a computer how to generate concise and highly accurate representations of lengthy drug summaries for doctors. Starting with a 70-page, technical description of medicine, he had to convert it into a data table of highlights that could be reviewed by a physician during her busy day. Ultimately, medical professionals will be able to rely on Saxena’s algorithm to make critical decisions regarding their patients’ health. Because of this experience, he later earned the young scientist award of Avira Digital.

Another project Nihal worked on recently was his D3LPHIN iOS application. Since he was unable to continue his volunteer work at a local assisted living during quarantine, Nihal began hosting virtual Zoom Bingo games. This motivated him to apply his computer science skills to develop an iOS app, helping the residents at Brookdale’s Memory Care cope with the challenges that Alzheimer’s presents. His app, D3LPHIN, was completed during 250+ hours of prolonged coding sessions. It now has various mind-strengthening games and activities for the residents, including a voice-activated, speech-to-text journal. This is one of Nihal’s proudest achievements and can be found on the App Store on all Apple devices.

These accomplishments are just some of the reasons why Nihal Saxena deserves this award, and his family, friends, and teachers are excited to see what else he does later in life.