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San Diego Student Wins Westinghouse Science Talent Search

March 14, 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.

She 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 winner Tracy Caroline Phillips, 17, of Long Beach, N.Y., 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., for a chemistry project studying micelles and dendrimer molecules.

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.

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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