Google Science Fair winner, Sarasota's Brittany Wenger, created program to help detect breast cancer

Student creates program to detect breast cancer

SARASOTA, Fla. - Brittany Wenger's vocabulary includes words many wouldn't understand.

"My network was 4.7 percent better that I custom-created in Java," she said on Friday.

It is that vocabulary, a determination to never give up and a lot of inspiration from her family that helped her create a computer program that can detect breast cancer.

It is a less invasive way to detect malignant tumors with a high success rate.

"I have had a lot of family members and a lot of family friends who have had cancer, and more specifically breast cancer.  It is really close to my heart to be able to create a tool for these doctors to help," she said.

The student at Out of Door Academy in Sarasota said her interest in science first spiked after her brother was born prematurely and hospital visits became a regular routine.

"I really grew to idolize the men and women in scrubs because I could really see what a difference they could make," she said.

Her mom said she never stopped asking questions.

"When she was a toddler it was always 'why, why, why?' Everybody said she would get out of that phase by age three or four, but she is 17 and still asking those questions," said Cami Wenger.

Brittany put hundreds of hours into research and two years of trial and errors, but she never gave up.  Google noticed.  Out of thousands of entries, Brittany took first place overall at the Google Science Fair.

"I was so shocked and honored and excited.  I was in shock and I don't even know how I managed to get up on the stage," she said.

Brittany says she plans to continue with her research.

"There is no age limit with science.  It does not matter that I still am in high school.  Anybody can make breaks and it just takes hard work and dedication," she said.

Brittany received $50,000 in scholarships and a trip to the Galapagos Islands and Google Switzerland.

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