March 7, 2012:
Albert Wu and Ramya Rangan, both grade 12, were recognized at a special assembly Wednesday morning for their accomplishment of being the first pair of students from the same school to receive the Siemens Award for Advanced Placement. Jennifer Harper-Taylor, president of the Siemens Foundation, and Diane Tsukamaki, director of the College Board, traveled from the east coast to attend the assembly and personally congratulate the students and tell the audience of their accomplishments.
Tsukamaki said that eight of the 42 state and national award winners from California since the program’s launch in 1998 have come from Harker, a figure of 20%, “a statistic that should make this school proud.”
A 2009 study of 65 countries, she continued, found that the United States ranked 23rd in science proficiency and 31st in math proficiency. “AP science and math courses and exams are one way that we hope our country can regain its lead,” Tsukamaki said. Students who enroll in AP math and science courses, she said, are much more likely to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics in college.
Harper-Taylor then shared with the assembly just some of Rangan and Wu’s many accomplishments. Amazingly, both took AP classes while they were in grade 8 and both are experienced pianists. Wu was invited to the 2011 Research Science Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is also captain of Harker’s swim team. Rangan, meanwhile, was a semifinalist in the 2011 Siemens competition and represented the US in the 2009 China Girls Math Olympiad, winning a bronze medal.
After receiving their awards, Rangan and Wu shared some words with their fellow students. “None of this would have been possible without the support of the Harker community, the teachers, especially the math and science department,” he said. “The school has really given me so many opportunities to expand my intellectual horizons and also to provide me with avenues to explore and pursue my passions.” He also thanked his parents, who he said blessed him with a curiosity and love of learning.
Rangan said the reason Harker has had such success in this program is “because the school has provided all its students with such a great opportunity to be able to pursue what they want to pursue at the highest level possible for them,” she said. “And I would of course like to thank my parents a lot for giving me the great opportunity [and] the drive to pursue these things.”
March 6, 2012
The Siemens Foundation and the College Board recently announced that Harker students Ramya Rangan and Albert Wu, both grade 12, have each been named the top U.S. female and male AP scholars in the Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement. Rangan and Wu are the only two students in the U.S. to receive the scholarship, and were selected based on their performance in Advanced Placement math and science classes. Each student had the most scores of 5 on AP math and science exams for a male and female student. The last Harker student to receive a national award was Yi Sun ’06. Wu and Rangan each received a $5,000 scholarship for earing the top spots.
“I was excited and honored to receive this award in December,” Rangan said. “I didn’t expect to be one of the national winners, so I was pretty surprised when I was notified about this.”
Wu said he was also a bit honored and surprised to receive the award. “I did not know I had the top aggregate score on AP math and science tests in the entire nation,” he said. “Of course, it would not have been possible without the support of the community around me.”
Awards are given to students each year based on their performance on AP exams in the following courses: Biology, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Computer Science A, Environmental Science, Statistics, Physics C Mechanics and Physics C Electricity and Magnetism. Two winners, one male and one female, are chosen from each state to win a $2,000 scholarship, and two national winners, also a male and female, receive a $5,000 scholarship.
Both students thanked their teachers, families and the Harker community for helping them reach this milestone.
“I received so much support from my teachers. Harker is a place that offers such a large range of courses, and the teachers do a great job of teaching them and caring about the individual student,” Wu said.
“Without Harker’s amazing teachers,” said Rangan, “I really would not have been able to learn the AP coursework to achieve this award. My teachers have done much more than train me for AP exams. They have prepared me for future encounters with their fields, and they have instilled in me an excitement for the subjects they teach.”
Rangan and Wu were highlighted in the San Jose Mercury News for their accomplishments. Their achievements will be honored at a special assembly on March 7.