Angel Huang showcases innovative study

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As a lower school student, Angel Huang (12) caught a disease which was going around her class. While she experienced few symptoms, her friends only deteriorated: some close childhood companions later experienced paralysis, or even death. “The doctors all called our sickness by the same namethe enterovirusbut our symptoms were so different,” she said. So when she began her first biology research project in tenth grade, she immediately thought back to everything left unexplained in elementary school. “Over the course of my research,” says Angel, “I realized this is what I want to do for life.”

Angel has enjoyed interacting with scientific principles. “I fell in love with science because doing hands-on things are what helps me learn the best,” Angel says. After transferring into TAS from local school in her sixth grade, the school offered her opportunities to explore science in a way she had never experienced before. “Some of my favorite memories from middle school are from science class, especially the fairs and the experiments,” she says.

She took her work to the next level through volunteering at hospitals, shadowing doctors, and doing research. “At one point, I became very interested in emergency care and asked to complete the Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) and even though medical background was required,” says Angel. “Funnily enough, I passed the exam as the highest scorer in my class!”

Now, her high achievement in science and medicine has paid off: Angel’s most recent project on the effect of folates on the spread of breast cancer has already seen success. Angel was a top participant out of 250 finalists from 20 nations at the Taiwan International Science Fair (TISF), receiving third place in the Health and Medical Sciences division. TISF has granted her the opportunity to participate in the Intel Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), one of the world’s top research competitions. ISEF, which will take place this year in Los Angeles from May 14-19, will gather over a thousand of the world’s top scientists to present their research and compete for cash prizes, fellowship opportunities, and more.

Before ISEF, however, Angel will have to prepare even more to undergo the scrutiny of judges at the fair, often professors with extensive experience in their fields. Currently, she is working with mentors from TISF to improve her data and create posters for her presentation at the fair. “There are lots of intense training sessions before Intel because I will be representing Taiwan,” she says. “I almost cried during the first training session because they kept roasting me. After the first day, my poster was completely empty, because the professors took everything out!” This tough-love approach by the mentors at TISF has paid off for young Taiwanese scientists: the nation has a strong track record for sending out outstanding individuals to the fair. Last year alone, eight participants from Taiwan received took category prizes at ISEF home for their research projects.

“I don’t know exactly what I want to do in the future, but I love science and would love to do this as a job,” says Angel. “I’m sure that college will change many of my perspectives, so I look forward to exploring the field more.” She will attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) next fall, where she plans to major in biomedical engineering.