UNT TAMS students recognized in 2012 Siemens competition

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 12:43

DENTON (UNT), Texas — Eleven students who are attending the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science at the University of North Texas were named either semifinalists or regional finalists in the 2012 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. The academy, or TAMS, has more students honored in the competition than any other Texas school, and is one of the top schools in the nation with honored students.

TAMS is a two-year residential program at UNT that allows exceptionally talented students to complete their freshman and sophomore years of college while receiving the equivalent of high school diplomas. Students enroll in the academy following their sophomore year of 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 Competition was established in 1999 and recognizes high school students’ achievements in mathematics, science and technology research. It is one of the most prestigious high school-level competitions in the nation, providing winners with college scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $100,000. Students may enter the competition as part of a team, or individually.

George Qi of Austin and Robert Tung of Plano, both second-year TAMS students, were among 11 students from Texas schools named regional finalists. The two worked with a student from Austin’s Westwood High School on “A Novel Approach for Estimating Survival Functions for Interval Censored Data with STD Behavioral Diary Information.” Their research mentor was Qiang Zhao, associate professor of mathematics at Texas State University.

Qi and Tung presented the research at the Region Two competition held at the University of Texas at Austin, which is one of six regional events across the U.S. that determine national finalists in the Siemens Competition. Regional finalists are each guaranteed a $1,000 scholarship. The individual and team winners of the regional competitions each receive scholarships of $3,000 and advance to the national competition, which this year will be held Dec. 1-4 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. National finalists compete for scholarships ranging from $10,000 to the top prize of $100,000.

Two TAMS students have won the top prize. In 2008, Wen Chyan received it for his individual research, and in 2002, Charles Hallford won the grand prize as part of a team.

TAMS students were also named national finalists in 2009 and 2011.

Nine other TAMS students were semifinalists in this year’s competition. They are:

        •Kevin Chen of Plano. Chen worked with Xiaotu Ma, research scientist in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Texas at Dallas on “MaSC: An Effective Method to Detect Aberrantly Methylated/Expressed Genes in Cancer with Consideration of Heterogeneity.”

        •Srikar Donapati of Irving. Donapati worked with Kyung-Hye Jung, postdoctoral researcher at UT-Dallas, on “Development of a Novel Carbon Nanofiber Precursor for Supercapacitor Applications.”

        •Cody Freitag of Rowlett. Freitag’s research mentor was Thomas Cundari, UNT Regents Professor of chemistry, on “Modeling of Late 3d Transition Metal Metathesis of tert-Butoxide Complexes with Amines.”

        •Ari Gao of Plano. Gao’s research mentor was Jannon Fuchs, UNT professor of biological sciences, on “Somatostatin type 3 Receptors Mediate Protective Effects Against Seizures.”     

        •David Hao and William Huang, both of Plano, who also had Fuchs as a research mentor. The students’ project is “The Characterization of Reactive Astrocytes after Brain Lesion.”     

        •Karan Kashyap of Frisco. Kashyap worked with Mohammad Omary, UNT professor of chemistry, on “Square Planar Platinum-Based Chromophores for Photovoltaic Applications.”

        •Wendy Tong of Plano. Tong worked with Angela Wilson, UNT Regents Professor of chemistry, on “Towards Efficient and Accurate Thermochemistry of Big Transition Metal Complexes.”

        •Chenyao Yu of Allen. Yu also had Wilson as a research mentor. His project is “Open-Shell Correlation Consistent Composite Approach (ccCA): Z-Averaged Pertubation Theory.”

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108