Danville Express

Newsfront - June 8, 2007

Hard work pays off for Monte Vista scientists

Li, Mei win awards at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

by Jordan M. Doronila

Two seniors from Monte Vista High School in Danville won awards at the annual Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, which was held in Albuquerque on May 13-18.

This year's event drew 1,500 students from 50 countries with more than 1,200 projects to New Mexico. Approximately 26 to 28 percent of the participants won awards.

Monte Vista juniors Richard Li and Yuyang John Mei, who won the 2007 Tri-Valley Science & Engineering Fair sponsored by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in March, garnered several awards at the international event.

"The competition level is extremely (high)," said Patty Carothers, science teacher and coordinator of the Monte Vista science team. "I was very impressed. I want to do anything I can do to encourage my kids to get to that level again and again."

Li won multiple awards for his project entitled "A Novel Approach to Rapid Diagnosis of Cancer," which explains how a protein could diagnose the disease.

He won a $500 prize for best in a category; fourth place in chemistry; a $100 award from the American Association for Clinical Chemistry; a $5,000 annual tuition scholarship; a paid summer internship from the College of Pharmacy at Union University, N.Y.; and a $120,000 tuition scholarship from Drexel University.

Mei received a paid summer internship sponsored by Agilent Technologies for his award-winning project called "A Novel Pathway for PTEN Chemo Sensitization," which unravels a protein to help fight cancer.

"Doors definitely opened for these kids," Carothers said. "They worked very hard to get where they are."

"Their work ethic is fabulous," she added. "They have a knack for research. They're quite the package."

The annual Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, now in its 58th year, brings together some of the world's most accomplished high school science students. The Livermore Lab sponsored Monte Vista's young scientists, said Carothers.

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has a mission to ensure national security and to apply science and technology to solve today's problems. It is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.

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