The 2010 Harker Research Symposium, themed Technology for Life, on April 10, will feature three Harker alumni – Jennifer Ong ’07 in person, and Richard Kwant ’07 and Brian Ma ’08 via video conference. Keynote speakers are philanthropic surgeon William McClure and scientist and entrepreneur Chris Gilbert.
Ong is currently a third year student at UC San Diego pursuing a B.S. in biology and a B.A. in communications. She is the incoming COO of North America for The Triple Helix (TTH) for the 2010-11 school year and Harker will be the charter member of the new high school division of TTH.
The Triple Helix, Inc. is an international nonprofit organization with 27 chapters at prestigious universities, including Harvard, Cornell, Brown, Johns Hopkins and Yale, aiming to produce the highest quality undergraduate publications and showcase the voice of students on pressing modern issues in science.
Ong’s visit marks Harker’s initiation to TTH and she will be joined on stage by Julia Piper, outgoing CEO of TTH, and Jennifer Yang, outgoing executive director of internal affairs, both recent UC Berkeley graduates. As TTH members, Harker students will have the opportunity to develop critical analytical skills that will prepare them for the collegiate level of writing and editing, while collaborating closely with undergraduate students across the globe.
A San Jose native, Richard Kwant attended Harker middle and upper schools. He particularly enjoyed his experiences with the varsity soccer team and the Junior Classical League. Now a junior at Harvard, Kwant is majoring in chemistry and physics. He works in Harvard’s Whitesides lab, where his work involves molecular recognition, the hydrophobic effect, protein crystallography and calorimetry.
When not in lab or studying furiously, Kwant enjoys playing with the Harvard University Band at hockey and football games, flying RC planes and helicopters, flying a 1946 Aeronca Champ and hiking. After college Kwant hopes to attain a graduate degree in chemistry or physics.
Brian Ma is a bioengineering major at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) and said he has always been interested in biology and medicine. His current project began when he applied for a summer research program. “I found a mentor who was investigating regeneration in plants, and I was curious about regeneration and cloning in general, so I snapped at the offer and wrote up a proposal to apply for a research grant,” said Ma.
“My mentor and I came up with our project plan together, keeping in mind my complete lack of prior lab experience but also my academic background in biology and medicine, and the 10-week deadline that all summer research students must complete their project within. Everything went smoothly, so here I am this year to present the results of my work at the Harker Research Symposium,” he added.