Public high school student takes top national science prize

[Welcome mental_floss blog and Daily Kos readers. After you read about this outstanding young woman, you can learn more about me, my life story, and this blog here.]

i-701d527d933190a1bbde3bc563bd0a4c-shivani_intel_2008.jpgIf you read elsewhere at, you'll know that several bloggers have been discussing race and gender issues in the scientific and medical research communities as well as the challenges facing young scientists who pursue academic research careers. So, I was overjoyed this morning to see this glowing face on Shivani Sud, a local young woman of Indian heritage who took first prize in the Intel Science Talent Search (formerly the Westinghouse Science Talent Search).

Shivani Sud, 17, was awarded a $100,000 college scholarship during a ceremony in Washington for her research to improve colon cancer treatment.

Sud, who attends Jordan High School, said Tuesday night she was thankful and proud. "That proud feeling comes from doing what I do and not just the acknowledgement of it," she said.

Her father, Ish, and her teary-eyed mother, Anu, joined their daughter on stage for pictures right after the announcement at a black-tie banquet for the contest's 40 finalists. (source)

As fellow blogger, Karen Ventii, said today in her interview with Bora Zivkovic, you've got to start them early.

Sadly, though, the very same issue of the local fishwrapper has this story about a recent report (Broken Pipeline) on the evaporation of national research support for biomedical researchers who complete doctoral and postdoctoral training.

I sure hope there's a bright future in the US for brilliant young minds like Ms Sud.

Addendum (13 March): Former deputy editor of The Scientist, Ivan Oransky, MD, reminds us that they covered the story of Shivani Sud in late 2006 (here). At the beginning of March, Mr Oransky joined Scientific American as their online managing editor - congratulations to Ivan as well!

Addendum (14 March):
Intel has posted detailed information on each of the top ten winners plus videos from the top three. Here is Shivani's - in the second half, she does a better job of explaining her project than almost any researcher I've seen on television recently:

Photo credit: Bob Goldberg, Intel Corp.

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"That proud feeling comes from doing what I do and not just the acknowledgement of it," she said.

Wow, nice to see the integrity and maturity expressed in that statement coming from a high school student.

By Baba Ghanoush (not verified) on 12 Mar 2008 #permalink

Wow - pretty dang impressive. How fun - and what a great smile. With one of my doctoral students, after her defense, I captured her first big smile - it's a priceless image, a well-earned smile for sure.

You know, I agree with the whole starting them early thing. My academic lab is now housed in a federal building, where anyone less than 18 is not allowed in the lab - I think that is such a shame, thinking back on the stream of young girls (say between 8 and 10) who have come through the lab - first seeing that it was my lab (a fellow female) and that it was something you could touch and feel. It immediately becomes something that is possible for them - and you can see that transition in their faces.

Such a moment!