AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The shortlist of contenders for the highest science honor awarded to American high school students narrowed tonight as the winners of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology Region Two Finals were announced. Organic chemistry research earned top honors and the $3,000 Individual scholarship for Joshua Kubiak of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Research on graph theory won the $6,000 Team scholarship for Andrew Xu, Kevin Chang and Kevin Tian of San Francisco, California, and Plano and Austin, Texas, respectively.
The students presented their research this weekend to a panel of judges from University of Texas at Austin (UT), host of the Region Two Finals. They are now invited to advance to the National Finals in Washington, DC, December 1-5, 2011, where $500,000 in scholarships will be awarded, including two top prizes of $100,000. The Siemens Competition, a signature program of the Siemens Foundation, is administered by the College Board.
"The Siemens Competition has a proud history of attracting awe-inspiring research projects from America's best and brightest and we are pleased to see that this year is no exception," said Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, president of the Siemens Foundation. "We can all take heart in the remarkable work being done by this next generation of young innovators as exemplified by Joshua Kubiak, Andrew Xu, Kevin Chang and Kevin Tian."
The Winning Individual
Joshua Kubiak, a senior at Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts, in Natchitoches, Louisiana won the individual category and a $3,000 college scholarship for his project, Asymmetric Conjugate Addition of Ortho-Quinone Methides as a Pathway to Communesin Analogs, which lays the groundwork for developing new techniques in organic synthesis.
"Joshua's work on developing an assembly of complex molecules showed a truly impressive knowledge of organic chemistry," said competition judge Dr. Dionicio R. Siegel, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UT. "He developed a new technique for forming specific three-dimensional molecular architectures, otherwise known as a chirality. The foundation of his research has potential applications in the pharmaceutical industry."
Joshua is the first student from his school to be named a National Finalist in the Siemens Competition. President of his school's math club, Joshua is also a National Merit semifinalist, winner of an Excellence in Chemistry Award and participant in the US Chemistry Olympiad. When Joshua is not pursuing a future career in drug design and development, he participates in his school's science club and tutors in his spare time. His mentor on the project is Dr. Scott E. Schaus, Boston University.
The Winning Team
Andrew Xu, a senior at Lowell High School in San Francisco, California, Kevin Chang, junior at Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science in Denton, Texas, and Kevin Tian, a senior at Westwood High School in Austin, Texas won the team category and will share a $6,000 scholarship for their project, Determining the Existence of Graceful Valuations of Various Families of Graphs.
"The students showed remarkable insight into a highly complex area of graph theory," said competition judge Dr. Daniel Freeman, R.H. Big Fellow, Department of Mathematics, UT. "They produced three new algorithms that show a new way of gracefully labeling graphs and in particular, gave an important contribution towards the Graceful Tree Conjecture, one of the most famous unsolved problems in graph labeling. Current and future mathematicians can use their algorithms to get one step closer to solving this fascinating problem."
Andrew Xu is the first student from his school to be named a National Finalist in the Siemens Competition. He is a winner of the Dong Lieu Science Prize and founder and president of ScienceDays, a program that brings hands-on science experiments to elementary schools. Andrew enjoys basketball, swimming and playing the piano. He hopes to become a research mathematician.
Kevin Cheng is a three-time Texas ARML Gold Team Member and has qualified multiple times for the U.S. Math and Junior Math Olympiads. He organized a MathStar club for elementary and middle school kids in his community and is president of the math club. He plans to major in math and business, with hopes of pursuing a career in one of those fields.
Kevin Tian was a Regional Finalist in the 2010-11 Siemens Competition. An accomplished musician, he is a viola player in his school orchestra and also plays the violin, piano, guitar, ukulele and harmonica. He is vice president of the IB Student Organization, which promotes community service, and enjoys playing basketball, and plans to major in economics. The team's mentor is Dr. Edward Early, St. Edward's University.
The remaining regional finalists each received a $1,000 scholarship. Regional Finalists in the individual category were:
- Favyen Bastani, Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, Plano, Texas
- Lucy Cheng, The Harker School, Milpitas, California
- Alice Jiang, Greenhill School, Dallas, Texas
- Benjamin Wang, Plano West Senior High School, Plano, Texas
Team Regional Finalists were:
- Kevin Chen and Alex Hong, Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, Plano and Allen, Texas
- Alexandra Ilic, Westlake High School, Austin, Texas, Lilly Shen, Clements High School, and Robert Shen, John Foster Dulles High School, Sugar Land, Texas
- Kevin Nguyen and Punya Chittajallu, Plano East Senior High School, Plano, Texas
- Helen Xiong, Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, Allen, Texas, and Jamie Stone, J. J. Pearce High School, Dallas, Texas
The Siemens Competition
Launched in 1998, the Siemens Competition is the nation's premier science research competition for high school students. An all-time record of 2,436 students registered to enter the Siemens Competition this year for an unprecedented 1,541 projects submitted. 317 students were named semifinalists and 96 were named regional finalists, representing 21 states. Entries are judged at the regional level by esteemed scientists at six leading research universities which host the regional competitions: California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Notre Dame and The University of Texas at Austin.
Follow the Siemens Foundation on Twitter (www.twitter.com/sfoundation) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/SiemensFoundation) to learn about the remarkable research being done by this year's brilliant Siemens Scholars. Then visit www.siemens-foundation.org at 9:30am EST on December 5 for a live webcast of the National Finalist Awards Presentation.
The Siemens Foundation
The Siemens Foundation provides more than $7 million annually in support of educational initiatives in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the United States. Its signature programs include the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement, and The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, which encourages K-12 students to develop innovative green solutions for environmental issues. By supporting outstanding students today, and recognizing the teachers and schools that inspire their excellence, the Foundation helps nurture tomorrow's scientists and engineers. The Foundation's mission is based on the culture of innovation, research and educational support that is the hallmark of Siemens' U.S. companies and its parent company, Siemens AG. For more information, visit www.siemens-foundation.org.
The College Board
The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of more than 5,900 of the world's leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT® and the Advanced Placement Program®. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools. For further information, visit www.collegeboard.org.
Video and photos of winners available on request.
SOURCE Siemens Foundation