GOOD

People Are Awesome: The Teenage Girl Who's Helping Defeat Cancer

How a teenage girl beat the guys to become a science fair champion, a cancer fighter, and $100,000 richer.

At age 17, most kids are worrying about the SATs, making the basketball team, or finding a prom date—or all three. Angela Zhang, a 17-year-old from Cupertino, California, is worried about something different altogether: cancer. Zhang's great-grandfather was once afflicted with liver cancer, and her grandfather died of lung cancer several years ago. She says it's their struggles that initially interested her in attempting to beat cancer once and for all. "I asked, 'Why does this happen. Why does cancer cause death? What are we doing to fix this and what can I do to help?'" she told the New York Daily News. Zhang's efforts paid off, literally: Last Monday, after two years of research, Zhang was awarded a $100,000 scholarship in the Siemens Foundation's annual high school science competition. A bit more exciting than the prom, huh?


Zhang, who was the only female finalist in the competition, beat out five opponents with her creation of a nanoparticle that can kill cancer cells without damaging the surrounding healthy tissue; she calls it the "Swiss Army knife of cancer treatments." The work is still decades away from being tested on patients, of course, but it could potentially improve the effectiveness of cancer treatments for millions, and Zhang did it all before she could legally vote.

Zhang is obviously awesome for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is her preternatural science abilities. But perhaps the most important takeaway from her story isn't her age, but her motivation. A lot of kids—adults, too—might look at so much cancer in the family and grow despondent; it hurts to watch loved ones die. That Zhang let her relatives' illness spark her mind instead of hobble her is what's truly amazing. That ability is the difference between people who sulk through life and those succeed despite the setbacks.

Photo courtesy of the Siemens Foundation

Articles


September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
Health
Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash

It's fun to go to a party, talk to strangers, and try to guess where they're from just by their accents and use of language. It's called 'soda' on the East Coast and 'pop' in the Midwest, right? Well, it looks like a new study has been able to determine where a Humpback whale has been and who he's been hanging out with during his awesome travels just from his song.

Keep Reading Show less
Science

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
test