Freshman Wins First Place at IUSD Science Fair


Photo courtesy of Aamina Khaleel

During the Science Fair, Aamina shows her project to the audience. She explains how her project breaks down the image of a brain tumor into parts that are easy to read.

Chloe Ma and Maya Sabbaghian

Standing beside a display of extensive scientific research, freshman Aamina Khaleel won first place in the Irvine Unified School District science fair with her project called  “The Detection of Brain Tumors Using Image Segmentation,” qualifying her to move on to the Orange County science fair. The IUSD fair was held on Feb. 26 in Portola High’s gym.

“The purpose of my project is to detect the border of a brain tumor,” Khaleel said. “I used MatLab, the software I used to create my project. What initially happens is that the algorithm, which is image segmentation, takes the image and inputs it into the algorithm….The technique I used was converting the tumor to gray scale, and then I isolated the tumor. After this, the last image that was produced depicted the border of a tumor drawn on the initial image.”

The school emphasizes and encourages all students to pursue their passions. Khaleel explored her passion for science through this innovative project.

“I chose this project because I have a passion in neurology. Brain tumors are a really common problem in the United States,” Khaleel said. “According to the Brain Tumor Association, more than 100,000 people are afflicted with this.”

Concerned about the current public health issue, Khaleel is dedicated to contributing to the medical field and, ultimately, helping people with this chronic disease.

“I have always loved science since I was really young…so because of my passion in science I just decided to keep on doing [the science fair] every year,” Khaleel said. “No matter how busy I am, I always try to make some time in my schedule to do the science fair.”

As a child, Khaleel used to lived in Los Angeles, where her parents would always take her to the California Science Center. From this, her passion for science kindled.

Khaleel is deeply involved with many clubs such as computer science, Science Olympiad, debate and robotics. She is a contributing member and also the founder of Academic Decathlon as well as the vice president of Bulldog Crew. Her desire to learn drives all of her endeavors.

“You have to take risks in order to explore. That’s what science is about, as long as you continue to explore and do research, you are always learning,” Khaleel said.