Award-Winning High School Scientist

Scientists can attest to the fact that scientific research requires curiosity, methodology and heart, traits Canyon Crest Academy senior, Eric Chen values. “For me, science is a way to satisfy my curiosity. It provides logical, concrete explanations for what I’m wondering and is a chance to answer questions that have never been answered before,” he stated. It’s also a way to improve the world around him. “I also love science for its impact. One discovery can change the lives of millions,” he marveled.

Eric Chen has become a national sensation, winning a rare trifecta of awards for his recent preventive developments with the influenza virus. These achievements included the Google Science Fair Grand Prize, First Place Prize for the Individual for the Siemens Competition, and, most recently, First Place Winner of the Intel Talent Science Search. Eric cites the sudden havoc that surrounded many flu viruses in the past as why he began his work with the virus. “Since the 2009 swine flu, I’ve seen new influenza strains like H5N1 and H7N9 all over the news, and have watched as the situation got worse. The urgency of the current situations is what pushed me to work on the flu.”

Eric will put the $100,000 scholarship he won at the Intel Talent Science Search towards his college education. He will be attending Harvard University in the fall where he is planning on majoring in math or computer science. He hopes to become a college professor or an entrepreneur so that he will be able to bring scientific innovation to life and see first-hand how his work will heal patients.

As for a few words of advice, Eric mentioned never to feel daunted by scientists and to be persistent with your research. “Coming into science I had no idea if I would discover anything, and it has been taking initiative and persisting that has gotten me to where I am,” he said.