Student reaps rewards by taking the initiative

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 January, 2007, 12:00am

Secondary school students are often criticised for lacking initiative but one local student has shown just how far ingenuity can take you.

Hong Kong International School student Dawn Lued Fon-ho has become the only student outside the US to be named as a semi-finalist in a prestigious science competition after completing research at an American university.

When the Grade 12 student read about cancer research being carried out at the University of Cincinnati, she wrote to the researcher and asked if she could work as an intern.

The researcher agreed, and last summer Dawn, 17, spent five weeks in the university's lab, where she conducted the experiment that would form the focus of her paper, 'The Epigenetic Profile of Prostate Cancer'.

Last week Dawn discovered she had been selected as one of 300 semi-finalists from more than 1,700 entrants in the Intel Science Talent Search competition after submitting her research, which created a profile of prostate cancer-related genes.

Dawn said she was surprised and 'ecstatic that all the time I spent on the paper was not in vain'.

The competition is open to US citizens living abroad and students attending US secondary schools. Dawn will receive US$1,000, with an additional US$1,000 awarded to her school. She is also in the running to win a scholarship worth up to US$100,000, a laptop and the opportunity to display her research at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington.

Dawn, who hopes to study in the US, wants to follow in her father's footsteps and become a surgeon.

Head of the HKIS science department, Robert Murphy, described Dawn's research as 'high-level biochemical research'.

'She's one of our high flyers but this goes well above and beyond. She's taken it one step further,' he said.

Meanwhile, a City University student will spend a week in London as part of a British Consulate-General project that aims to nurture young photojournalists.

Siu Wai-hang will produce a series of photographs entitled 'The Life in London', which will be exhibited in Hong Kong later this year.