Bend teen wins STEM honor with cancer detection AI tool | Local News – Central Oregon Daily

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Imagine being able to detect skin cancer without seeing a dermatologist. Now, imagine a Central Oregon high schooler creating that tool.

Trinity Lutheran High School senior Emma Nordstrom did just that, landing a trip to Washington D.C. and becoming a national science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) champion.

“I essentially created a machine learning model, which is artificial intelligence, to detect three types of skin cancer and benign lesions,” Nordstrom said. “After that, after I had completed that, I decided to create an app that use that machine learning data to be utilized in underrepresented communities.”

That’s complex, but here’s what Emma says her model can do:

“You scan a lesion of concern and it will tell you the probabilities of it being cancerous and what kind of cancer it may be,” she said.

Science teacher Tom Stueve assigned the project.

“She has taken that small challenge and really went after the whole idea of knowing that you can progress and really go after some real challenges in the real world,” Stueve said.

Nordstrom entered her project last fall among 4,000 other applicants. She and 125 others were selected to travel to D.C. as national STEM champions.

“We went and presented our research to people from the White House, people from the Department of Education and there was people from National Institute of Health, the CDC,” Nordstrom said. “We were able to interact with each other, see what other people are interested in and see what their research is, see how they’re contributing to society and helping others.”

“It was a really, really cool experience,” she added.

Nordstrom hopes this technology can help remove barriers for underserved populations trying to access this specialty care.

“I’m really honored to have achieved that because it was for something that’s going to help other people,” Nordstrom said. “Yes, I created that, but overall I’m helping a whole population of people that may not have had help before.”

Nordstrom told Central Oregon Daily that after her graduation this spring, she hopes to study physiology and eventually become a nurse.

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