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UNT students in running for notable award
Olivia Sylvain / Intern
Three UNT Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science students were awarded $1,000 each and named semifinalists in the 2013 Intel Science Talent Search Jan. 9.
Today at 7 a.m. ET, the field of 300 semifinalists will be trimmed down to 40 finalists.
The Intel Science Talent Search is a national competition for high school seniors to present their original research in science, math, medicine and engineering.
At UNT, TAMS is an academic program that allows high school seniors to complete their freshman and sophomore years in college while still earning their high school diploma.
Last year, UNT had one semifinalist make it to the round of 40. Kurtis Carsch was selected by the Intel STS for his work on efficiently converting methane gas into methanol.
TAMS juniors Jianing He and Larry Xiao and sophomore Alex Hong were all named as finalists.
Jianing He said her year-long research over air quality in oil fields began as a way to pass the time.
“It was like a side hobby that turned into more,” she said. “It was just another experiment for me to try.”
She used recycled lab equipment and guidance from her chemistry professors to improve her research.
Despite her project’s focus on environmental science, she says her true interest is in medical science, and that her prize money will contribute to her education in the medical field.
“I came in thinking I would do biology research but my eyes were opened to chemistry,” He said.
Hong worked with professors at the University of Texas at Dallas on existing research dealing with bandages containing chemical compounds that heal wounds.
Hong began his work in June and returned to the UTD campus each week for several months.
“It was a great learning experience,” Hong said. “You learn not only chemistry and biology, but you learn how to work with others in the lab.”
Hong plans to move forward in the competition and use his Intel STS funding to go toward his college education in biological engineering.
Like his peers, Xiao worked diligently on his research and learned a lot through the experience.
“Most people think science and engineering is all about math, but it was the creative aspect that propelled me forward,” Xiao said.
Xiao’s project was over the modification of natural fibers to substitute plastics used in manufacturing.
Xiao said although he worked individually for nearly two years, his professors had a big impact on his work.
UNT will receive an additional $1,000 to go toward science, math and engineering education since the school has semifinalists in the competition.
If any of the UNT semifinalists advance in the competition, they will go to Washington D.C. in March to continue in the final phase of the competition and receive rewards ranging from $7,500 to $100,000.