Pattye Benson

Community Matters

TESD: Conestoga Senior Michael Zhang Awarded $75,000 in 2016 Intel Science Talent Search


Exciting update —

Conestoga High School senior Michael Zhang, 18, of Berwyn, PA won the Second Place Medal of Distinction for Global Good in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search last night in Washington, DC. He engineered tiny virus-like particles to deliver gene-modifying proteins to target cells for medical therapy by altering the genome of those cells in a controlled way.

The second place medal comes with a $75,000 award! Congratulations Michael and the Zhang family!


I previously posted the following on Community Matters (January 20, 2016) when Michael was listed as a 2016 Intel finalist:

The list of finalists in Intel’s 2016 Science Talent Search (Intel STS) was released today and Tredyffrin Easttown School District student, Conestoga senior Michael Zhang. is on the list! Michael’s impressive achievement was based on his ‘Design and Assembly of CRISPR/Cas9-based Virus-like Particles for Orthogonal and Programmable Genetic Engineering in Mammalian Cells’. Congratulations Michael!

Run by the nonprofit Society for Science & the Public since 1942, the Science Talent Search is America’s oldest and most prestigious science competition for high school students. Intel Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif., has sponsored the competition since 1998. Intel STS recognizes 300 students as semifinalists each year. From that group, 40 finalists receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. from March 1016, where they will compete for more than $1 million in awards.

As an Intel STS finalist, Zhang will participate in rigorous final judging sessions, display his work to the public, meet with notable scientists and compete for three Medal of Distinction awards awards of $150,000 each – one for basic research, one for global good and another for innovation. Additionally, there are three second-place awards of $75,000, and three third-place awards of $35,000. Each Intel STS finalist receives at least $7,500.

According to Intel STS website, alumni of the competition have made extraordinary contributions to science and “hold more than 100 or the world’s most coveted science and math honors, including twelve Nobel Laureates, eleven National Medal of Science winners, two Fields Medalists, and eighteen MacArthur Foundation Fellows.” Intel STS 2016 finalists are from 38 schools in 18 states. Fifty-two percent of this year’s finalists are male, while 48 percent are female.

As one of the nation’s top high school researchers, congratulations and best wishes to Michael in Washington!

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  1. Conestoga Senior Michael Zang has brought honor to himself, his family, and Conestoga High School. He has performed brilliantly. Thank you Pattye for providing particular spotlight on his outstanding accomplishment.

    Ed Sweeney
    TESD Region 2

    P.S. I am told a disclaimer is appropriate if I speak on Social Media even on non-controversial issues. Therefore, I do not speak for the TESB in this matter and my views are my own.

    1. Ed,

      As a Director, thanks for your leadership. Your post motivated me, a tax payer, to follow in your footsteps.

  2. Yes, Congratulations Michael ZHang. Brilliant work!

    Enjoy the satisfaction this achievement brings and Thank-You for the honor and dignity it brings our district.

  3. Today’s article in the Philadelphia Inquirer shows Michael to be a remarkable all-around talent. To break ground in such a technical and promising field with no inside track is phenomenal. Congratulations to him!

  4. Congratulations Michael!
    Your accomplishment is a reflection of your hard work and dedication from your parents and guidance from your teachers. You are a great role model.

    After graduating from Harvard, what do you think, come back to Pennsylvania and start
    a company? I’m sure PA Bio would provide guidance.
    Congrats again.

  5. Your work means so much to me and many others who have neen impacted by cancer’s tragedy.
    I was only 11 years old when my 12 year old sister was diagnosed with cancer. She passed away at age 22. I still to this day carry with me, HER battle scars.
    Now as a much older woman, I know of dear souls battling with cancer. I see them defeated by cancer.
    Thank-you Michael for investing and committing your time to an insidious battle. Keep the faith and be victorious! Do not let anyone say to you:impossible. Einstein believed in miracles. I believe in miracles, as well. I see a miracle unfolding in you, as you subdue cancer’s fury.
    THANK YOU and CONGRATULATIONS on your prestigious accomplishment.

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