On November 11th, 8 students pressed submit on their Intel applications. These students, Alex Afeyan, Brennan Adler, Matt Armstrong, Connor Ghazaleh, Spencer Kim, Ethan McILhenny, Harrison Rohrer and David Yellen, represent the epitome of scientific talent the school has to offer and with David Yellen, Matt Armstrong and Harrison Rohrer as their leaders and Mr. Courtney as their teacher; they decided to take on the world’s greatest High School Science competition, The Intel Science Talent Search.
Acclaimed by George H. W. Bush as the “Super Bowl of Science,” the Intel Science Talent Search is the oldest and most prestigious science competition in the nation pitting the smartest budding researchers from across the country against one another. The three winners of the contest will receive $150,000 each with an equivalent amount of compensation awarded to the school. In a matter of weeks, the contest will be narrowed down to semifinalists, as the entrants eagerly await their fate in the contest. Between the applicants there is a high possibility of a winner.
All eight students went to a research lab every Thursday junior year and worked 6 weeks over the summer conducting research which was compiled into a science paper over the fall. This hard work was spent contributing to meaningful work with potential real life applications in the realms of gene therapy, personalized medicine, cancer research and neuroscience among others. Examples of projects include designing a strip to test urine for cancer on a smartphone, using nanoparticles (Spencer Kim), and developing a system derived from bacterial immune system to edit the human genome and restore normal function to patients with Dystonia, a neurological muscular disorder (David Yellen.) Research by the 8 other students proved equally impressive.
While completion of the Intel project required applicants to test the limits of their own intellect, the reward of research outweighed the stress of the project. According to David Yellen, “Though the project was daunting and an arduous process, in retrospect it was incredibly rewarding in terms of learning about the process of scientific research and seeing how much was accomplished over a year and a half.”