On May 18-19, forty-nine Riverside County students will be competing at the California State Science Fair at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. These students won gold medals at the 2015 Inland Science and Engineering Fair held in April and now have the opportunity to showcase their scientific minds at the statewide event. Among those competing in Los Angeles will be 16-year old Centennial High School student, Jared Tramontano, whose success at the 2014 Inland Science and Engineering Fair led to a year of impressive honors and research opportunities.
At last year’s Inland Science and Engineering Fair, Jared, then a sophomore from the Corona-Norco Unified School District, was awarded top honors for his project “Dimensional Quasi-Attractors with Dynamical Action on Topological Manifolds.” Now a junior at Centennial, Jared is taking undergraduate courses at Harvey Mudd College and participating in two professional research groups in mathematics at the University of California, Riverside. Even as he prepares for the upcoming California State Science Fair, Jared’s 2014 project continues to bring him recognition.
As a 2014 Inland Science and Engineering Fair sweepstakes award winner, Jared won a spot on the RIMS Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) delegation in Los Angeles where he was also selected as one of only 12 high school students from around the world invited on an all-expense paid trip to Geneva, Switzerland, to study at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. As an extension of this trip, Jared was accepted to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related activities in Germany. Most recently, Jared has been accepted as a 2015 Research Science Institute (RSI) scholar which includes research opportunities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an off-campus research internship. Given to only 3-4 applicants from California and only 51 nationwide, this prestigious honor will provide Jared the opportunity to conduct research on the MIT campus over six weeks this summer.
At only 16 years of age, Jared appreciates the amazing experiences his travels and research overseas have provided him, but he values the academic environment here at home: “. . . the academic prowess of the United States is truly the zenith of the intellectual world. Colleges in the United States are microcosms of the world; one may interact with global cultures each day.”
Numbers fascinated Jared from an early age. “My interest in mathematics began at the age of three, suddenly, and out of nowhere. I began working with numbers, adding them, and working my way up to multiplication.” After completing AP Calculus in his freshman year, Jared was introduced to what he calls “real” math, or complex analysis, and his love for math grew exponentially.
Jared’s 2015 entry for the Inland Science and Engineering Fair entitled “Fuzzy Structures in Differential Topology and Analysis” (featured in The Press-Enterprise) brought him another gold medal and a spot on the 2015 RIMS Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) delegation. The project is a generalization of existing structures in mathematics for application to algorithms in machine learning.
When asked what advice he would give to aspiring young scientists, Jared encourages all students “ . . . to spend time trying to discover what you’re passionate about. Once you find this passion, roll with it. Email those with expertise and try to find a mentor.” Jared encourages students not to give up. He received over a hundred “no’s” in search of a mentor.
Jared is planning on majoring in mathematics, and continuing with graduate studies in pure mathematics or theoretical computer science. For a profession, Jared says he would enjoy teaching mathematics at the university level. And, perhaps, one day, he will be the professor who finally says “yes” to mentor the next great scientific mind from the Inland Science and Engineering Fair.