MOST OF THE FINALISTS ARE CHILDREN OF ASIAN IMMIGRANTS.
THE NATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR AMERICAN POLICY WELCOMES THEM.
A record-setting number of Bay Area high school seniors will compete in Washington for the top spot in the Intel Science Talent Search, one of the most prestigious competitions for young scientists….
Eleven finalists are from California, six from the Bay Area. Two are from The Harker School in San Jose, the only school in the nation with more than one student advancing to the finals. And this is the first year any state has more finalists than perennial record-holder New York, which is sending seven students to the finals…..
Finalists will compete for the top prize during an action-packed week in March, when they will field (answer) questions about their research from Nobel Prize laureates and fifth-graders alike. The winner will receive a $100,000 college scholarship.
First-time finalists were announced at Cupertino High School, Venture School in San Ramon and Gunn High School in Palo Alto, where Intel visited Andrew Liu, 17, during his Advanced Placement economics class. Standing with balloons and an oversized boarding pass,
Liu explained how he used computer algorithms to identify immune system pathways activated during organ transplant rejection.
His classmates whispered, “That’s awesome!” as Liu finished describing how his project could help patients suffering from a range of diseases, including cancer.
In addition to doing research, Liu is captain of the school’s debate team and co-editor-in-chief of the school newspaper. “Andrew is down to earth,” said economics teacher Roni Habib. “He’s not one of those geniuses who doesn’t get jokes.”
Liu hopes to merge leadership and science as he continues his education. “We need leaders who not only can do the scientific research, but also get involved in public policy,” Liu said, echoing part of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, in which he emphasized the need for role models in science. …..
Quantifying what has long been obvious in Silicon Valley, a new analysis shows the majority of America’s top high school science competitors are the children of new immigrants.
The report, released Monday by the nonpartisan National Foundation for American Policy, found that about two-thirds of the finalists at the Intel Science Talent Search — the Nobel Prize of high school science — were born to parents who hailed from either China or India.
Only 12 of 40 finalists at this year’s competition — a national contest based on solutions to scientific problems — had parents who were born in America.
“The benefit America derives from the children of immigrants in science and math is an additional advantage the country reaps from being open to talent from around the world,” said author Stuart Anderson, director of the organization and a former head of policy at the Immigration and Naturalization Service….
But the largest number of Intel finalists — 16 — had parents who hailed from China. Ten were born to Indian parents. There was also one finalist whose parents were from Iran, and another from South Korea…..
For instance, both of Nikhil’s parents have Ph.D.s. His father works at Microsoft, studying signal processing. His mother, an organic chemist, teaches chemistry at the Harker School.
Finalist Rohan Mahajan, whose Indian father works for Cisco, researched methods of improving the efficiency of photo-electro-chemical cells, which could improve solar energy. Something much more simple also motivated him.
“I got interested in energy production,” he said, “because whenever we went to India the power always went out.”
(Hope some Burma expatriate kids will be motivated by the current or prior power blackouts or shortages over there, just like this talented Indian kid – He has a good heart, too).
ORIGINS of YOUNG SCIENTISTS
A new analysis of 2011 Intel Science Talent Search finalists shows the vast majority have parents who are new immigrants. Here are their countries of origin:
United States: 12
South Korea: 1
Source: National Foundation for American Policy.