Anita in China: Treasure, Treasure

author-v2I’m writing to affirm the Chinese proverb, “A nation’s treasures are in its scholars.” I’ve spent days with amazing young people from across the world, and I was most impressed with the four North Carolina students here for the Beijing Youth Science Creation Competition.

Our students wowed the Chinese judges, and racked up on the medals for their projects.

Meet them:

IMG_0670.JPG-150x150Jonathon Kuo
NC School of Science and Mathematics

Jonathon’s Project: Making and testing a fuel cell that does not require the membrane or many of the other costly components of a traditional ethanol fuel cell, lowering the overall cost of making the cell. By further refining the components of the fuel cell and thus improving the performance, ethanol fuel cells can be made into viable, less expensive sources of energy.

IMG_0671.JPG-150x150.jpegNimit Desai
NC School of Science and Mathematics

Nimit’s Project: Discovering how to selectively activate certain beneficial protein pathways and not activate harmful pathways, thus improving therapeutics for inflammatory disorders and dysregulated T-cell activation, both of which are fundamental to our immune system.

IMG_0465.JPG-150x150.jpegHolly Ren
Enloe High School

Holly’s Project: Developing effective methods to control parasitic nematodes contributing to massive crop loss. Plant parasitic nematodes – microscopic worms that feed on plant cells – cause nearly $100 billion in annual crop loss, making feeding the world’s growing population very difficult. This research can help to develop novel ways to control these parasites.

IMG_0438-150x150.jpgRohan Deshpande
East Chapel Hill High School

Rohan’s Project: Creating a small, inexpensive device, installed invisibly, that accurately tracks the number of people in a room by monitoring its entrance. This could save school districts more than $10,000 annually by reducing wasted electricity consumption, and could lead to savings of more than $160 million annually if installed in all public school restrooms in the United States.

We’re headed back stateside, and while I’ll be sad to say goodbye to our adventures abroad and to these students, I’m confident our future – and the future of North Carolina and its workforce – are safe in their hands.

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