Originally Posted: Jan 20, 2012
Last Updated: Aug 30, 2013
It’s so easy to get caught up in senior year, from figuring out what college to attend to who to take to prom. But in between all that stuff, one girl who decided to do something extraordinary.
Angela Zhang, 17, is a senior at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, California, whose research, “Design of Image-guided, Photo-thermal Controlled Drug Releasing Multifunctional Nanosystem for the Treatment of Cancer Stem Cells,” has earned her a $100,000 prize from the Siemens Competition.
The gold and iron oxide-based nanoparticle, which she refers to as a “Swiss army knife of cancer treatments,” can deliver medication directly to the site of a tumor, potentially eradicating cancer stem cells with no damage to healthy cells. This multifunctional nanoparticle also allows for noninvasive MRI and photoacoustic imaging. Imagine Borg-esque nanoprobes from Star Trek--little robots in your bloodstream that constantly fix any problems in your body. While human testing could be decades away, this is a huge step forward in research to cure cancer and many other diseases.
How did she do that?!
At 14 years old, Angela Zhang approached Stanford University in hopes of having a mentor for her research. She was initially denied mentorship because of her age. One yeah later, she was able to work with Stanford’s Dr. Zhen Cheng.
She shows that learning should not stop when your high school classes are over! With the inexhaustible resources available to us today, anything is possible. Do you have an amazing idea? Do you want to help cure cancer, or create better alternatives for amputees or people with limited mobility? You don’t have to work for a research company or study at the top university in the country to make strides like this!
What can I do?
The key to success is being able to problem-solve. Ask as many questions as possible. Find a local college and see if you can join a research team, or talk to some of the students and professors. Instead of waiting for someone to post something on Facebook, spend your time online researching something that interests you. If you are told something can’t be done, prove that it can!
Your options are only limited by your ability to dream and your drive to accomplish goals.