Two Palo Alto students have won a Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology prize, which is the nation's top science honor for high school students, the foundation announced Dec. 5.
Jeffrey Ling, a Palo Alto High School junior, and Helen Jiang, a junior at Henry M. Gunn High School, were awarded the $10,000 team scholarship at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Six teams and six individuals received awards ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. Cassee Cain and Ziyuan Liu of Oak Ridge High School, Oak Ridge, Tenn., took the top team prize for their work using computers and a robotic leg to analyze leg motions while walking. The team's project could help amputees and people with gait problems.
Angela Zhang, a senior at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino won the grand individual prize for her biochemistry project, in which she created a microscopic particle with the potential to eradicate cancer stem cells by controlled delivery of a cancer drug to a tumor.
Ling and Jiang won their prize for their project, Novel Diagnostic and Prognostic Utilities Integrating Clinical and Molecular Findings to Manage Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Neonatal Care.
Necrotizing enterocolitis is the most common and serious gastrointestinal disease and leading cause of mortality in premature infants.
Ling is captain of Science Olympiad and a 2011 USA junior Math Olympian winner, He is active in community service , tutoring and helping middle school students with math and science. He plays the piano and enjoys playing Frisbee and badminton.
He first became interested in math in sixth grade, when he discovered "how tricky mathematics is." He wants to become an inventor and "create something interesting and worthwhile that can benefit the lives of everyone in the world," he said.
Jiang wants to become a university professor. When her younger sister was five years old, she broke her arm and had to go to the hospital. While staying there with her sister, Jiang was inspired to find ways to help children born with diseases who are forced to remain hospitalized for a long time.
She is co-president of S.A.G.E. business club, where students promote their own businesses. She plays volleyball, soccer and Frisbee loves to sing and write lyrics.
More than 2,400 students registered for the 2011 competition, an unprecedented number, according to a Siemens press release. The Siemens competition was launched in 1998 and is considered the nation's premier science research competition for high school students.