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Meet Some Top Students in the Intel Science Talent Search

The 40 finalists in the 2011 Intel Science Talent Search met with President Obama at the White House on March 15
The 40 finalists in the 2011 Intel Science Talent Search met with President Obama at the White House on March 15

This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

The Intel Science Talent Search is the top science competition for high school students in the United States. The forty finalists were honored in Washington last week. They met with scientists and politicians. President Obama welcomed them to the White House.

These forty students were selected from almost two thousand contestants nationwide. They had to present original research to be judged by professional scientists. The students showed their research projects on large posters. The winners were announced March fifteenth.

Wendy Hawkins is executive director of the Intel Foundation. She says the forty finalists represented excellence across many areas of science.

WENDY HAWKINS: “These students bring work that is ready for publication and in many cases has already been published in pretty much any branch of science that you can think of: physics, electrical engineering. And the projects are deep and rich and insightful.”

Selena Li is from Fair Oaks, California. She wanted to find a more effective treatment for liver cancer. She began her research four years ago. A scientist at the University of California, Davis, taught her how to design and do experimental work in the laboratory.

SELINA LI: "I researched a new approach to targeting liver cancer by basically starving the liver cancer cells to death, while leaving the normal cells unaffected. And, to go one step further, I blocked a survival pathway to make the treatment more effective."

Ms. Li placed fifth in the Intel Science Talent Search and was awarded thirty thousand dollars.

Scott Boisvert lives near Phoenix, Arizona. He began using a laboratory at the University of Arizona at the age of fourteen. Over four years, he completed a project studying a fungus linked to the decrease in amphibians around the world.

He was trying to find out if different chemicals and substances in the water could kill the fungus. He collected and tested water samples across Arizona.

SCOTT BOISVERT: "My results were able to identify a list of chemicals that were significant in the growth and in the movement of the fungus."

He placed tenth in the Intel competition and was awarded twenty thousand dollars.

Evan O'Dorney of Danville, California, won the top award of one hundred thousand dollars in this year's Intel Science Talent Search. For his mathematical project, he compared two ways to estimate the square root of an integer, a number with no fractional parts.

Wendy Hawkins at the Intel Foundation says these young people represent the next generation of scientists who will help shape America's future.

And that's the VOA Special English Education Report. Visit the all-new mobile version of our website where you can read and listen to Special English programs and watch captioned videos. From your phone or other device, go to I'm Christopher Cruise.


Contributing: Rosanne Skirble