Three students have been named National Finalists in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology after earning top spots in one of two regional competitions that took place this past weekend. The Competition is the nation's premier science research competition for high school students and promotes excellence by encouraging students to undertake individual or team research projects. For more information, go to: www.siemens-foundation.org . Prateek Kalakuntla, of Plano, TX, earned top individual honors and a $3,000 scholarship for his research developing a new tool to test for the presence of the neuro-toxin mercury in water that could be used in developing countries. Adhya and Shriya Beesam, of Richardson, TX, shared the $6,000 team scholarship for developing a new approach to diagnose schizophrenia earlier in patients using both brain scans and psychiatric evaluation. They are among 96 students overall selected to compete in regional competitions across the country this month out of a pool of more than 1,600 projects submitted for the competition this year. These top regional winners now move to the final phase of the Siemens Competition to present their work at the National Finals in Washington, D.C., December 5-6, 2016, where $500,000 in scholarships will be awarded, including two top prizes of $100,000. The students presented their research this weekend to a panel of judges at the University of Texas at Austin, host of the Region Two Finals. "This year's competitors continue to impress me with the level of expertise they've acquired on their topics," said David Etzwiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation. "The creativity and vision of these young researchers give us great hope for the future of the scientific enterprise." The Siemens Competition, launched in 1999 by the Siemens Foundation, increases access to higher education for students who are gifted in STEM and is based on the culture of innovation, research and educational support that is the hallmark of Siemens. This competition, administered by Discovery Education, recognizes and builds a strong pipeline for the nation's most promising scientists, engineers and mathematicians.