Some people are just amazing. They stand out, achieving things that can be simply hard to believe. It can induce envy in some people, but perhaps the best reaction is old-fashioned wonder. After all, the human race is the better for their awesomeness. Here are just five amazing young people.
Andreas Pavlou, Sewanhaka High School, Elmont, New York
Andreas, from a low-income family, edited his high school newspaper and was president of the student council. While still a young man his father passed away prematurely, leaving Andreas to help support his family.
One summer while still in high school, Andreas had an opportunity to conduct cancer research. As part of his work, he made new discoveries relating to breast cancer, including a very promising combination of gene therapy and drug treatment.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, he won the very prestigious Questbridge scholarship, which got him a full ride to college.
Shree Bose, Fort Worth Country Day High School, Fort Worth, Texas
Ms. Bose is another teen who, moved by the suffering of a loved one at the hands of cancer (in this case a grandfather), engaged in advanced research in an effort to find a cure. She asked every research center in her area to let her work but no one took her seriously -- except for the North Texas Science Health Center, which agreed to give her access to their labs plus mentoring.
She focused on the chemotherapy drug Cisplatin, and discovered that inhibiting a specific protein allowed the drug to be much more effective in killing cancer cells. She says, "For the over 240,000 patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer, this research will hopefully be able to reduce the recurrence rates in patients treated with particular chemotherapy drugs in the future."
Thanks to her work, Ms. Bose won numerous science prizes, scored an internship at the National Institutes of Health and was accepted into Harvard.
Athena Kan, River Hill High School, Clarksville, Maryland
While serving an internship at Johns Hopkins, Ms. Kan performed research into healthcare inequalities among minority groups, even presenting her findings at a medical conference. This inspired her to take an active role in the field of public health, founding a health fair called CHOICE (Coalition Halting Obesity in Children Everywhere). This brought together dozens of exhibitors -- ranging from nonprofits to private corporations -- along with free health screening. She also served on a county-level public health committee.
Ms. Kan received a full scholarship to Harvard.
Anvita Gupta, BASIS High School, Scottsdale, Arizona
Ms. Gupta combined an interest in computer science with a passion for biology by creating software that automatically identifies medications for diseases like cancer and ebola, thereby boosting research into new drugs.
Her achievement won her several high-level science prizes, including a presentation at the White House Science Fair. She also gained entrance to Stanford (computer science and biology).
As if that wasn’t enough, Ms. Gupta was struck by the dropout rate of girls in her AP computer science class, with three-quarters of the girls leaving the course. So she founded LITAS, a computer science club for middle school girls. The club, which is designed to increase female participation in STEM fields, has won sponsorship from Google, among other high-profile organizations.