Joy Jin from Gunn High School in Palo Alto and her partner, Thomas Luh, a junior at Leland High School in San Jose, each won $10,000 college scholarships in the Siemens Competition in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in Washington, D.C., considered by many to be the nation’s premier research competition for high school students.
Jin and Luh were partners in the team competition. There was also an individual competition. All competitors presented their work at the National Finals in Washington, DC, December 1-4. A total of $500,000 in scholarships was awarded, including two top prizes of $100,000.
The top team prize went to teens from Hewlett, New York, for investigating COP1, a key protein in plants and animals. The $100,000 individual prize was won by Kensen Shi of College Station, Texas for developing a new method to improve robot motion planning.
According to the competition’s website, Jin and Luh’s research aims to improve the treatment and prevention of lung cancer. The team discovered the relationship between two proteins critical in the development and formation of cancer. “Thomas and Joy have uncovered a potentially important mechanism of lung cancer metastasis,” said Dr. Jim Heath, Professor of Chemistry, California Institute of Technology. “Metastatic cancers are almost always deadly, and so it is hard to think of a more important problem in oncology. Their work has the potential to lead to new and effective therapies. They are a remarkably gifted team.”
The team was mentored by Dr. Hu Li, Thoracic Oncology Laboratory, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Jin and Luh were the only competitors from California. Another Palo Alto student, Caroline Debs who attends Castilleja School, was a Regional Finalist earlier in the competition.
Here’s a complete list of the national winners:
The Winning Individual
Kensen Shi won a $100,000 college scholarship for his project, Lazy Toggle PRM: A Single-Query Approach to Motion Planning.
The Winning Team
Jeremy Appelbaum, William Gil and Allen Shin will share a $100,000 college scholarship for their project, COP1 Arrests Photomorphogenesis in Dark Grown Gametophytes of Ceratopteris richardii; A Study of COP1 in Cryptogams.
Six individuals and six teams competed at the Siemens Competition National Finals. The remaining National Finalists were awarded the following scholarships:
• $50,000 scholarship – Jiayi Peng, Horace Greeley High School, Chappaqua, New York (Physics)
• $40,000 scholarship – Samuel Pritt, Home School, Walkersville, Maryland (Computer Science)
• $30,000 scholarship – Saumil Bandyopadhyay, Maggie L. Walker Governor's School for Government and International Studies, Richmond, Virginia (Electrical Engineering)
• $20,000 scholarship – James Howe, Regina High School, Iowa City, Iowa (Biology)
• $10,000 scholarship – Raghav Tripathi, Westview High School, Portland, Oregon (Biochemistry)
• $50,000 scholarship – Daniel Fu, Park Tudor School, Indianapolis, Indiana, and Patrick Tan, Carmel High School, Carmel, Indiana (Mathematics)
• $40,000 scholarship – Neil Davey, Montgomery Blair High School, Silver Spring, Maryland, and Katie Barufka, Langley High School, McLean, Virginia (Microbiology)
• $30,000 scholarship – AJ Toth and Jim Andress, Oak Ridge High School, Oak Ridge, Tennessee (Computer Science)
• $20,000 scholarship – Jonathan Tidor and Rohil Prasad, Lexington High School, Lexington, Massachusetts (Mathematics)
• $10,000 scholarship – Thomas Luh, Leland High School, San Jose, California, and Joy Jin, Henry M. Gunn High School, Palo Alto, California (Biology)
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