Jenks High Senior Michael Hwang Earns Prestigious Recognition for Scientific Research

Courtesy Jenks Public Schools
TOP SCHOLAR: Jenks High School student Michael Hwang, who scored a perfect 36 on the ACT, has been named one of the top 300 scholars in the Regeneron Science Talent Search.

Michael Hwang, senior at Jenks High School, has been named one of the top 300 scholars in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, one of the nation’s oldest, and most prestigious science and math competitions. For earning the scholar distinction, Hwang and Jenks High School will be awarded $2,000 each.
Hwang, who recorded a perfect score of 36 on the ACT and has been conducting research at the University of Tulsa since the beginning of his sophomore year. He entered a project titled: Characterizing Matcha Green Tea as an Anti-Cancer Agent. His research focuses on the properties of matcha green tea and how human cells metabolize certain nutrients. The 18-year old is looking for compounds in matcha green tea that could stop cancerous cells from metabolizing and spreading, while allowing healthy cells to multiply and prosper.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be selected,” said Hwang, one of only two students from Oklahoma to be named a scholar. “I wasn’t expecting this at all, and I feel very humbled and privileged to be chosen.”
The scholars were selected from nearly 2,000 applications received across 49 states and eight countries. The Regeneron Science Talent Search provides students a national stage to present original research and celebrates the hard work and novel discoveries of young scientists who are bringing a fresh perspective to significant global challenges. The research projects submitted cover topics from medicine and health to environmental science.
“I want to contribute to the world in some way, and I think in order to contribute, you have to find a new, innovative way to do something,” Hwang said. “This competition really fosters people who have the potential to change the world.”
On Jan. 22, 40 finalists were chosen from the field of 300 scholars. Finalists receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C in March where they competed for more than $1.8 million in awards provided by Regeneron. The high school students will also present their research to many of the nation’s top scientific experts as well as elected officials.
Hwang, who has been attending Jenks Public Schools since kindergarten, claims he has always been interested in biology. His curiosity about research was sparked by attending a summer program at Stonybrook University in New York where he learned the basics of research and how to conduct his own project. In addition to the camp and what he has learned at the University of Tulsa, Hwang credits the opportunities available to him at JPS as a major factor in his academic success.
“Jenks provides an enormous amount of resources for science and science education,” Hwang remarked. “I’ve always had teachers who were extremely helpful, who believed in me and challenged me. I’ve learned so much in my classes here and I’m really grateful for the foundation Jenks has helped me to build over the years.”
Alumni of the Regeneron Science Talent Search include recipients of the world’s most coveted science and math honors, including 13 Nobel Prize winners, 11 National Medals of Science, and 21 MacArthur Foundation Fellowships.

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