Inspired by his child’s participation in a middle school school science competition, Lance Clifner after observing the negative influence of parental bias in team formation, recognized the significance of generating performance-based, objectively selected teams to maximize students’ potential. As a result, Lance developed a revolutionary algorithm that minimizes parental bias. The algorithm that he generated has not only been used to create Science Olympiad teams, but also has been adopted by a few elementary schools to create student schedules.

Clifner thoroughly enjoyed the cross-pollination between working with economic researchers in combination with his software expertise. Integrating these two seemingly different fields was one of his most interesting and memorable parts of his study at Chapman University.

After finishing his PhD, Lance hopes to teach programming to high school and junior college students, or continue his research but direct it towards the creation of a product that could implement his algorithms for scheduling classes and students for schools. Clifner notes that these opportunities have been made possible because he was selected as a 2019 Kay Graduate Scholar. Congratulations again on the success of your achievement and we wish you the best in your endeavor to help students who are entering the new age of science!