While many seventh grade girls are focused on fashion and friends, Brittany Wenger was focused on improving medicine.
"I stumbled across artificial intelligence and I was enthralled. I went home and bought a programming book, and said that's what I was going to do," Brittany said.
Now a senior at Out of Door Academy in Lakewood Ranch, the 17 year old has been working on a computer program to detect breast cancer.
"I taught the computer how to diagnose breast cancer so it could determine whether breast masses are malignant or benign," Wenger said.
Last year she entered the highly competitive Google Science Fair, but her project wasn't picked.
This year she tried again and Brittany made it to the pool of 90 regional finalists, and just a few days ago she got even better news.
"When the top 15 were announced and my name was called, I just sat there bugged-eyed—I was so excited. It was an incredible experience," Wenger said.
This time, Brittany got the judges at Google to notice her by using some tools familiar to them, explains Brittany's teacher Joanne Barrett.
"Because she was using some of the tools Google has available, that maybe they would notice this time, and sure enough they did. It's beyond exciting. It's amazing," Barrett said.
Brittany's program uses 700 samples from the University of Wisconsin and runs a series of tests to determine the nature of the tumor.
"Right now, my program is 99.1 percent sensitive to malignancy and I think it might be hospital ready," Brittany said.
Brittany doesn't want to profit from her program, she is in it to save lives. She doesn't know whether she will be Google's next Science Fair winner, but the experience she says, is just as thrilling.
"At this point, I'm going to enjoy it and take it all in," Wenger said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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