Whiz Kid: Teen's Medical Science Project Earns $25,000 Grant
Siddhartha Jena of the International Academy wins national scholarship.
Each week, Bloomfield Patch features students doing amazing things in their schools and in their communities. This week's Whiz Kid is a high school senior drawing high-profile recognition for innovative lab work.
- Age: 17
- School: International Academy
- Achievements: Even before selecting a college from among East Coast and Michigan choices, this gifted senior from Bloomfield Hills has a $25,000 scholarship from a national institute. He received it in late August for an advanced science project that shows a possible way to offset health risks from elevated blood cholesterol -- a research study this teen began on his own in 2009. After reading articles in Science and Nature magazines, he says, "I wanted to analyze the disease [lipid disorder] on a mollecular and cellular level."
His lab research -- mentored in part by Dr. Jin-sook Lee, a post-doctoral research associate at Wayne State's School of Medicine -- involves high-intensity light that allows molecular analysis. It earned a $3,000 first-place award last year at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair in San Diego.
More recently, Siddhartha was named a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist. This past summer, he participated in a reseach program at MIT in Cambridge, MA.
- Key to awesomeness: In addition to being able to pronounce spectrofluorometer, this precocious teen uses the sophisticated instrument in his biotechnology research. He's among only 18 high school students receiving 2011 scholarships from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a nonprofit education center in Nevada. A co-founder describes the winners as "resourceful and distinguished young people . . . [with] projects that have the potential to benefit society." The local winner and others will be honored at an October reception in Washington, D.C.
Siddhartha, who considers himself "a fairly normal teenager," enjois blues, jazz and playing saxophone. His first name, which has well-known spiritual and literary roots, seems apt. It means "one who has accomplished a goal" in the Hindi language of India.
Do you know our next Whiz Kid?
Bloomfield Patch welcomes suggestions for students, youth groups and even sports teams who wow us with their accomplishments. We want to hear about amazing children and teens and select one each week as Whiz Kid. Submit your nomination in our comment box below or email the information to editor Art.Aisner@patch.com. Please include all these details:
- Nominator's name
- Whiz Kid's name and age
- Whiz Kid's school
- Whiz Kid's accomplishment
- What makes him or her successful