First Name

Maria

Last Name

L.

Bio

Maria (Masha) is a senior at Friendswood High School. With two immigrant parents from Russia with professions in engineering and mathematics, Masha was brought up to love the logical complexity of problem-solving in computer science and robotics. Masha has engaged in active competition throughout high school, a member of the UIL Mathematics, UIL Ready Writing, Computer Science, and SkillsUSA academic teams. She first branched out into real-world application of her technical skills at the Biomedical Optics Laboratory at the University of Houston, preparing optical phantoms and participating in in vivo experiments on imaging of embryonic development in research models and analyzing images of blood vessels with ImageJ. Parts of the summers of 2018 and 2019 were also spent designing mechanical parts for a laboratory at the Baylor College of Medicine using Autodesk Inventor. This past summer, working as an intern at the University of Houston Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, she did extensive research and Python coding to create a program that accurately and efficiently fits the Paxinos rat atlas to user-acquired brain scans and finds cell concentrations in brain parcels, working toward improvement of management of brain pathologies in patients. Masha also found an interest in cybersecurity. This interest was piqued in Cyberpatriot competitions and developed in success in student-organized CTF cryptography competitions (most notably, PACTF, PEACTF, and Girls Go Cyberstart). She recently undertook a large, independent project focusing on the development and representation of cryptographic techniques on an online platform to encourage user security. This interface first focuses on encryption and decryption of strings and specific file types, employing a series of known ciphers, then on encryption and decryption of specific file types using various cryptographic techniques. In achieving this, she has spent countless hours teaching herself HTML, PHP, CSS, and JavaScript. Masha also spends time after school volunteering for the Friendswood Public Library, and she has a part-time job tutoring middle-school kids in mathematics. Once she has graduated from high school, Masha hopes to advance her technical skills and heavily contribute to the scientific biomedical society in developing new approaches to applications of OCT (optical coherence tomography) systems. She intends to major in computer science and minor in neuroscience.