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Joe Holleman is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Nikhil Boddu

Nikhil Boddu at the Intel science fair last week in Phoenix (Photo by Qing Peng)

Marquette High School junior Nikhil Boddu won big before coming home from the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Big, as in a full ride to Drexel University.

Last week in Phoenix, Nikhil, 16, was awarded Intel's certificate for computer science excellence, which brings along a four-year, full-tuition scholarship worth $200,000 to the university.

His project researched ways to reduce unstructured noise in MRIs to improve the diagnosis of neuro-degenerative diseases.

"It was a pleasant surprise," Nikhil said. "I'd put a lot of work into this project for the last two years."

Being but a junior, Nikhil noted that he had yet to apply to colleges. "But (Drexel) is now on my list."

The son of Vamsi and Radhika Boddu of Ballwin, Nikhil was one of two STL students sent to the Intel fair by the Academy of Science St. Louis.

Cindy Wang, a junior at Ladue Horton Watkins High, attended with her molecular biology project dealing with reducing tumors.

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