Bellaire student competes for $50,000

BELLAIRE, TX Thomas is among 60 high school juniors and seniors who will receive a $2,000 scholarship and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., April 4 – 7 to present their research to nationally recognized epidemiologists and teachers and compete for college scholarships of up to $50,000. More than 550 high school students from across the nation entered the competition, which is designed to spur students' interest in the field of public health, specifically epidemiology. Epidemiology explores patterns of disease, illness and injury within populations with the goal of developing methods for prevention, control and treatment to improve health.

All YES competitors develop a research question and hypothesis about a health issue that concerns a group or groups of people, then conduct research to analyze the subject and suggest potential ways to improve the problem based on their analysis. The projects have tackled a wide-range of issues, including obesity, influenza, body image, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, malaria, sexually transmitted disease and depression. Thomas's project is entitled "An Analysis of Causes and Effects of Video Game Addiction."

"Now in its fifth year, the YES Competition has become one of the nation's most influential and prestigious science competitions for high school students. Each year the caliber of students and the level of competition has increased, and this year is no exception," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "The projects are innovative and insightful and address important public health issues facing our country and the world. The work of these students gives me great hope that a new and gifted generation of epidemiologists is emerging."

The highly competitive national program awards a total of nearly $500,000 in scholarships annually. The research projects are judged by a panel of the nation's leading scientists, epidemiologists and educators.

The finalists will be judged on the basis of their written reports, oral presentations and question-and-answer sessions. Winners of the competition will be announced at an awards ceremony at 8:30 a.m. E.T. on Monday, April 7, at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

College Board President Gaston Caperton said the research skills employed by the students for the YES Competition extend far beyond epidemiology.

Caperton said, "The YES Competition is designed to encourage students to explore careers in epidemiology, but we know it benefits young people with a wide variety of career interests. We applaud these students and their accomplishments and look forward to their future success."

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