Twelve High School Semifinalists Selected for $185,000 National Academy Medical School Scholarship Challenge

Students submit scholarship research proposals that range from use of genetics to nanotechnology

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists announced the 12 semifinalists for the $185,000 National Academy Medical School Scholarship Challenge. In February 2014, at the Congress of Future Medical Leaders, 3,100 honor high school students were charged with identifying an unsolved medical/scientific/world health problem and then creating an original investigation of their own design to solve that problem.

From these 12 semifinalists, three students will be selected to present their research proposals on stage at the November Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Washington, D.C. The Academy will award one full medical school scholarship covering tuition fees (up to $185,000) to a U.S.-based medical school to one student. In addition, two $10,000 medical school scholarships will be awarded to the runners-up. Scholars attending the November Congress will vote electronically to determine the winners.

The students were asked to reflect on what most inspired them at the February Congress of Future Medical Leaders when developing their Scholarship Challenge submissions. The students' investigations must include a hypothesis or thesis for which students develop a research plan or other game plan to tackle and solve the medical problem they choose. The student's methodology could be scientific, technological, medical or even political/diplomatic. Students were required to submit a video and essay presenting their investigation.

See the complete National Academy Medical School Scholarship Challenge official rules at

The Congress is an honors-only program for high school students who want to become physicians or go into medical research fields. The purpose of this event is to honor, inspire, motivate and direct the top students in the country who aspire to be physicians or medical scientists to stay true to their dream and, after the event, to provide a path, plan and resources to help them reach their goal.

During the three-day Congress, Congress scholars will join other students from across the country and hear Nobel Laureates and National Medal of Science winners talk about leading medical research; be given advice from top medical school deans on what is to be expected of them in medical school; witness stories told by patients who are living medical miracles; be inspired by fellow teen medical science prodigies; and learn about cutting-edge advances and the future in medicine and medical technology.

The Academy offers free services and programs to students who want to be physicians or go into medical science. Some of the services and programs the Academy plans to launch are online social networks through which future doctors and medical scientists can communicate; opportunities for students to be guided and mentored by physicians and medical students; and communications for parents and students on college acceptance and finances, skills acquisition, internships, career guidance and much more.

The National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists was founded on the belief that we must identify prospective medical talent at the earliest possible age and help these students acquire the necessary experience and skills to take them to the doorstep of this vital career. Based in Washington, D.C., the Academy was chartered as a nonpartisan, taxpaying institution to help address this crisis by working to identify, encourage and mentor students who wish to devote their lives to the service of humanity as physicians, medical scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians. Learn more at

The National Academy Medical School Scholarship Challenge semifinalists include:

Jennifer Deasy, a 2104 high school graduate from Ft. Washington, PA 
Topic: Using stem cells and gene therapy to treat lesions in the white matter of the brain to cure migraines.

Matthew Quigley, a high school senior from Brighton, IL 
Topic: Using a piercing nanobot to detect and destroy cancerous cells in the human body.

Emaya Moss, a high school junior from Haymarket, VA 
Topic: Using the antigen CD30 to create a vaccine for Hodgkin's disease.

Gloria Nashed, a high school junior from Windermere, FL 
Topic: Using nanotechnology microprocessors and cameras to restore sight in patients with Retinitis Pigmentosa.

Christian Pollema, a high school senior from North Sioux City, SD  
Topic: Using the enzyme choline acetyltransferase to either prove or disprove the Cholinergic Theory and further Alzheimer's disease research.

Marissa Witmer, a high school sophomore from Quarryville, PA 
Topic: Using nanotechnology to treat and cure breast cancer.

Ruchit Patel, a high school junior from Piscataway, NJ 
Topic: Using volatile organic compounds on the skin to detect the presence of melanoma to create a quick and inexpensive screening test.

Armond Dorsey, a high school junior from District Heights, MD 
Topic: Using humanized-cleaving -pigskin rDNA along with human genes from a patient's healthy melanocytes to treat melanoma.

Heidi Zettl, a high school junior from Allen, TX 
Topic: Using nanotechnology to create a synthetic nerve to make the bridge between functioning neurons and bypass damaged neurons.

Maxine Heffron, a high school sophomore from Moreland, GA 
Topic: Using cold lasers to cure diabetes.

Sweta Bhoopatiraju, a high school senior from Minneapolis, MN 
Topic: Using siRNA-loaded nanoparticles to silence the PRNP gene and treat neurodegenerative prion diseases.

Mekhala Rao, a high school junior from Mason, OH 
Topic: Using the echinacea plant to treat the CA-MRSA bacteria.


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