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San Diego Student Wins Westinghouse Science Talent Search

March 13, 1995

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A 17-year-old high school senior from San Diego who isolated two genes linked to lymphoma cancer won first place in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search and a $40,000 college scholarship.

Irene Ann Chen was selected Monday as the top winner from among a field of 1,667 high school seniors who entered the 54th annual competition.

In her project, Chen isolated two genes from a lymphoma cancer cell line and then conducted experiments to learn the function of the genes in the spread of cancer.

Second-place Talent Search winner was Tracy Caroline Phillips, 17, of Long Beach, N.Y. She invented an electronic device to help the blind distinguish denominations of paper currency. She won a $30,000 scholarship.

Third place and a $20,000 scholarship went to Martin Tibor Stiaszny, 17, of Overland Park, Kan. His entry was a chemistry project studying micelles and dendrimer molecules.

Westinghouse Electric Corp. announced the winners just before an awards banquet.

The other top 10 winners and their scholarship amounts were:

4. Samit Dasgupta, 16, Silver Spring, Md., $15,000.

5. Deborah Chuan Yeh, 18, Plano, Texas, $15,000.

6. Gina Petrocelli, 17, Brooklyn, N.Y., $15,000.

7. Aleksandr Leonidovich Khazanov, 15, Brooklyn, N.Y., $10,000.

8. Griffin M. Weber, 17, Newport News, Va., $10,000.

9. Jordan Matthew Cummins, 18, Livingston, N.J., $10,000.

10. Franz Edward Boas, 17, San Diego, $10,000.

First and second alternates were Jacinta Carmel Conrad, 17, of Eugene, Ore., and Daniel Brandon Wolfe of West Bloomfield, Mich.

The alternates along with 28 other finalists will each receive $1,000 cash awards.

A special $5,000 grant honoring the memory of Soo Yeun Kim of Brookville, N.Y. was announced for Jericho (N.Y.) High School. Kim was killed in an automobile accident in November, but judges, unaware of her death, had selected her project as one of the 40 finalists.

The top 10 winners were selected from among 40 finalists who presented their projects in competition that started last Wednesday. The competition included judging by three separate panels and interviews with Glenn T. Seaborg, a Nobel laureate in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.

Westinghouse has sponsored and paid for the Talent Search since 1942. The corporation conducts the competition in partnership with Science Service, a Washington, D. C. non-profit organization that promotes public understanding of science.

Five former scholarship winners from the contest won Nobel Prizes. More than 70 percent of past winners have earned doctoral degrees in science or medicine.

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