UC Berkeley BioEngineering Competition


Kayla Hui

UHS students pose at the awards ceremony for the BioEngineering High School Competition at the University of California, Berkeley.

Yihan Wang, Journalism Club Staff Writer

Over spring break, four UHS students traveled to UC Berkeley to compete in the BioEngineering High School Competition (BioEHSC) against 56 other high school teams. The UHS team consisting of juniors Sydney Guan, Sophie Guan, Brina Wang and Kayla Hui ultimately received first place in the video category for their research in medical solutions to osteoporosis. 

The students spent four months under the guidance of two Berkeley mentors in preparation for the competition, in which they faced off against national competitors and international students from regions including Southeast Asia. The competition itself involved video explanations and presentations to medical experts. 

Mr. Matthew Bell, the advisor to the team, expressed his feelings regarding the students’ research and newfound learning experience. 

“I’m proud of Brina, Sophie, Sydney and Kayla,” Mr. Bell said. “It was fun to see their progress and talk with them about the research they were doing. In addition to the hours they spent researching the topic of osteoporosis diagnosis, they found a couple of mentors at Berkeley and were able to meet digitally with the experts to verify the information and gain rich insights into the biological processes within the body that cause osteoporosis.” 

Collectively, the students all expressed similar joy with their achievements. 

“Personally, I was surprised and excited that our hard work was recognized, especially because our entire group stepped up for the making of the video,” Wang said. 

The team recalled their favorite highlights from the in-person competition which made for a more memorable experience.

“My favorite part was working together as a team and spending time up in Berkeley together,” Hui said. “Even when practicing for our presentation, we couldn’t stop laughing. After the judging portion of the competition, there were interactive activities, such as a lab tour, which we all had fun attending.” 

The experience was especially valuable for the students as they were further exposed to the field of biotechnology and the experimental process that comes with constructing a final product.

“We learned about the process that an idea goes through before becoming a physical design and product,” Sophie Guan said. “Since the competition was focused on research and design, we were able to gain experience in how the biotech industry operates.”

The team also faced certain challenges in the final presentation of the project but was able to overcome them through teamwork, ultimately lending an opportunity for growth as the competition came to a close. 

“One challenge we faced was the industry pitch portion of our project,” Sydney Guan said. “Since none of us had much experience in that area, we weren’t sure how we should [have] presented it. However, by looking at previous examples and practicing a lot, we were happy with our end result.”