ICYMI: Classical Senior Joseph Zurier Takes Second Place in National Siemens Competition

Zurier, one of only six regional finalists competing for prestigious science honors, wins $50,000 scholarship


Joseph Zurier, a senior at Classical High School, with his poster summarizing his math research at the Siemens Competition finals in Washington, DC.

Joseph Zurier, a senior at Classical High School, was named the second-place winner of the 2014 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, the nation’s premier research competition for high school students. His second-place prize landed him a $50,000 college scholarship. 

Zurier’s project was one of only six individual projects from across the nation to compete in the national finals in Washington, DC.

In October, Zurier became the only student from Rhode Island and one of 30 in the nation to reach the regional competition. As a regional finalist and then a regional winner, Zurier was one of six students competing for one of the most prestigious science honors awarded to high school students.

Zurier’s project, “Generalizations of the Joint Problem,” involved determining the maximum number of joints that can be created with a given number of lines and he improved the best-known upper bound.

For the regional competition, Zurier was flown, courtesy of Siemens, to the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in October to present his project to a panel of scientists, along with four other regional individual finalists. As the regional winner, Zurier advanced to the national finals at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and became eligible to compete for scholarship prizes beginning at $14,000.

Zurier plays varsity tennis and is on the Classical High School math team, where he has placed first in the state each year since he was a freshman. He has been admitted to Harvard University as an early action candidate and is also applying to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University and plans to major either in mathematics, applied mathematics or computer science.

Zurier is the only student from Rhode Island to be named a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search 2015, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious pre-college science and math competition. He received a $1,000 grant with another $1,000 award for Classical.

A total of 300 high school seniors were named semifinalists from more than 1,800 entrants from 460 high schools in 41 states, Puerto Rico and five high schools overseas. On January 21, 40 of the semifinalists will be named Intel Science Talent Search finalists and will compete for more than $1 million in awards.

The Siemens Foundation supports educational initiatives in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the United States. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Siemens competition. The 2014 competition generated unprecedented participation, showcasing students’ growing interest in science, math and technology. A record 4,428 students registered for this year’s competition and submitted a total of 1,784 projects for consideration, which is a 12 percent increase over the number of projects submitted last year.