Mohan takes fourth at Siemens Westinghouse

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Desh Mohan, a second-year student at the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, received a $30,000 scholarship for placing fourth among the individual finalists in the 2005 Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science & Technology.

The Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science is a two-year residential program at the University of North Texas that allows talented students to complete their freshman and sophomore years of college while earning the equivalent of high school diplomas. Students enroll in the academy following their sophomore year in high school, live in a UNT residence hall and attend UNT classes with college students. After two years, they enroll at UNT or another university to finish their bachelor's degrees.

The Siemens Westinghouse Competition was established in 1999 and is funded by the Siemens Foundation. The competition recognizes high school research in mathematics and science. Students may submit individual projects or projects conducted with one or two other students. Those with individual projects and those on teams compete separately.

Mohan, the son of Meena and Chandra Mohan of Flower Mound, was named one of the competition's six individual finalists for his research on how male nematodes, or worms, have adapted to survive oxygen deprivation that is detrimental to humans. Mohan began conducting the research in October 2004 in the laboratory of Pamela Padilla, UNT assistant professor of biological sciences, and is continuing it this semester.

Mohan and the other finalists, as well as students on the six teams selected for the finals, competed for the grand prize scholarship of $100,000 by presenting their research at New York University this past weekend. The students ' projects were judged by a panel of prominent scientists and mathematicians headed by lead judge Dr. Constance Atwell, consultant and former d irector for extramural research at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Padilla said she watched Mohan's presentation at New York University via the Siemens Foundation web site.

"I believe he did an excellent presentation that further demonstrated his capacity to not only conduct interesting scientific research but to communicate his findings as well," she said. "I am very proud of his accomplishments and am thrilled to be able to mentor such a gifted student. His accomplishments are also a reflection of how well UNT and TAMS support student research."

Mohan was named a finalist after presenting his research at the Southwestern Region Competition in November. The Southwestern Region is one of six regional competitions held to determine the finalists.

Mohan is the second TAMS student in four years to compete in the finals of the Siemens competition. In 2001, Charles Hallford from Brady was among students placing fourth in the team finals of the competition.

TAMS Dean Richard Sinclair called Mohan "an outstanding young scientist who is able to balance a rigorous course load with research and leadership in extracurricular activities."

"He has taken advantage of all of the positive opportunities TAMS has to offer high-achieving students," Sinclair said.

More than 1,000 students entered this year's Siemens Westinghouse Competition in early October. Mohan was first named a semifinalist in the competition on Oct. 21. He was one of 49 Texas students, and one of nine students from TAMS, to be named semifinalists.

Mohan was then one of 14 Texas students, and one of two TAMS students, chosen as individual or team regional finalists on Oct. 31.

A National Merit semifinalist, Mohan attended Marcus High School in Flower Mound before entering TAMS in August 2004. At TAMS, he is a member of the National Honor Society and Helping Other People Everywhere, a community service organization. He is also the vice president and one of the founders of Living In A Free Environment, an organization dedicated to providing a safe environment for students at TAMS.

He is applying to Stanford University to finish his bachelor's degree after graduating from TAMS in May. Mohan plans to eventually attend medical school and earn both a medical degree and a doctoral degree for a research career.

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