Business Insider’s list of the year’s 20 most impressive high school graduates is hot off the press – and it includes four Harker alums.
In the case of our recent grads, their continued academic success – resulting in acceptances to some of the nation’s top research universities – is matched only by their commitment to furthering the future of health care. With a deeply ingrained foundation of community service, civic engagement and social justice, the high-flying foursome is giving back in a big way.
A freshman-year battle with hypothyroidism and a passion for mitigating global health inequalities led National High School Journal of Science peer reviewer Samantha Madala to establish the Healthy Scholars Foundation, a nonprofit that removes health-related barriers to education around the world through screening, treatment, awareness and research. Since its founding in 2013, Healthy Scholars has received a $250,000 multiyear grant from The Hans Foundation, raised more than $200,000 and provided free health screenings to nearly 10,000 schoolchildren in India.
Accepted into the University of California San Diego Medical Scholars Program for a combined B.S./M.D., Madala’s professional experience includes internships in neurobiology, immunology and health policy at Stanford University’s School of Medicine as well as the co-authoring of an abstract for the world-renowned Endocrine Society. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the recipient of Harker’s Love of Learning Award and Mission of the School Award.
Harvard University-bound (computer science and biology) Andrew Jin created a machine-learning algorithm that could help researchers better understand human evolution and potentially develop new gene therapies, vaccines and treatments for disorders like schizophrenia, earning him the first place Medal of Distinction for Global Good and a cash prize of $150,000 at the Intel Science Talent Search 2015, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious pre-college science and math competition and a program of Society for Science & the Public.
No newcomer to the awards circuit, Jin previously won second place at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the largest pre-college scientific research event in the world, and third place in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, the flagship initiative of the Siemens Foundation. He has secured a summer machine-learning internship at Facebook, based in Menlo Park, where he will assist the online social networking service’s search team.
Like Jin, Rohith Kuditipudi was named a finalist at this year’s Intel Science Talent Search based on his scientific research and overall potential as a future leader of the scientific community. His project, “Network-Based Integration of High-Throughput Gene Expression and Methylation Data Reveals New Insights into NAFLD Progression,” involved collaborating with researchers at the University of California San Diego to examine the evolution of fatty liver disease and analyze valuable data linking the disease to more serious afflictions such as liver cancer. He was also recognized among the top 10 competitors in both the Harvard Pre-Collegiate Economics Challenge and the Stanford Math Tournament.
Kuditipudi co-founded the India Literacy Project and volunteers at Breakthrough Silicon Valley, where he tutors underprivileged children in math. This fall, he will enter Duke University as one of just 15 Angier B. Duke Scholars, studying a combination of his three favorite disciplines: mathematics, economics and computer science.
Yale University-bound (pre-med) Daniela Lee and her 2014 Google Science Fair project partner, Sadhika Malladi, grade 11, developed a noninvasive imaging system for predicting test results in triple-negative breast cancer patients, leading to their standing as one of the top 15 global finalists representing the United States, Australia, Canada, England, France, India, Ireland, Russia and Ukraine.
A research intern at Stanford University’s School of Medicine for the past two years, Lee presented additional findings that could help to decrease treatment time and increase patient comfort at the 2014 Focused Ultrasound Symposium, where she was recognized by Vice President Joe Biden as the only high school student speaker.
Business Insider editors solicited nominees for this list via a post and sought out notable students for consideration via news searches, said Melissa Stanger, associate editor of lists for Business Insider. “We were also surprised by the incredible range of talent at The Harker School,” Stanger said. “I think this is the first year we’ve had more than two high school graduates from the same school appear on our list!” Stanger noted those listed were “chosen for their above-average accomplishments in a number of fields,” and in finalizing the list, they strove to diversify the selections to include those “doing impressive things in science, the arts, philanthropy, tech, etc.”