by LINDA FRABL | photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

Finding New Solutions

When Andrew Kuang decided to participate in the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair (GSDSEF), which took place in March of 2017 at the Balboa Park Activity Center, he truly put his heart into his project. A 12-year-old seventh grader at Carmel Valley Middle School, Andrew came up with a novel way to apply the scientific method in order to help solve the water contamination problem in Flint, MI. He said, “I really wanted to help people when I started my project.” This is what inspired him to try using cilantro as a heavy metal biosorbent (absorbent organic material). “I am inspired by the achievements others have made to help people, like the humanitarian workers in developing countries.”

student_kuang_2The majority of Andrew’s free time this school year was devoted to developing and perfecting his ambitious science project. After his project’s success at the GSDSEF, Andrew qualified to enter the California State Science Fair, which was held in April at the California Science Center in downtown Los Angeles. Only 1,000 students, grades six through 12, throughout the state were selected to compete for over $50,000 in total awards and scholarships. Just being invited to attend and compete is considered a great honor in itself.

Naturally, Andrew’s favorite subject in school is science. His appreciation for the field stems from all of the opportunities to change the world that come with it. He shared, “My science class allows me to learn more about the natural world.” Though he isn’t sure of what he wants to do when he grows up just yet, Andrew maintained, “As an adult, I want to help people. I haven’t thought out the details yet, but helping people was the major motivation behind my science fair project!”

“I really wanted to help people when I started my project.”

Though he does have an amazing grasp of creating and executing remarkable scientific ideas, Andrew revealed that he does have issues when dealing with his hardware. He laughed, “I have a sufficient talent for taking pretty bad care of laptops. I’ve dropped them and spilled water over them!” Andrew shouldn’t worry though, because as inventive as he is, perhaps he’ll one day conceive of a revolutionary scientific solution to remedy the fragility of laptops. For now, Andrew is content with focusing on making the most of his middle school career and life in Carmel Valley.


Name: Andrew Kuang (12)
School: Carmel Valley Middle School
Grade: 7
Parents: Ken Kuang and Zheng Zhu
Sibling: Simon Kuang (18)
Favorite Local Spot: Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve