The 22 Most Impressive Students At Harvard Right Now

Harvard

Photo: statigr.am/agnes_preau

Getting into Harvard University is a huge accomplishment by itself; the school had a record-low 5.9 per cent admission rate last year.But standing out among the thousands of stellar students is an even bigger achievement.

We’ve found the 22 most remarkable students at Harvard this semester.

These kids have made breakthroughs in scientific research, fought for social justice, and created a better community at Harvard.

John Harvard himself couldn’t have chosen better.

David Boone overcame homelessness and gang violence for a full scholarship to Harvard.

Class of 2016

Boone overcame difficult obstacles -- including homelessness and gang violence -- to get to Harvard.

The freshman from Cleveland said that gang members burned down his home when he refused to join them. While homeless, Boone devoted himself to his studies and to productive extracurricular activities, which earned him a spot in Harvard.

Boone is attending Harvard on a full Gates Millennial Scholarship.

This semester Boone is taking courses in Mandarin Chinese, expository writing, computer science, history and calculus. He said that he sometimes spends up to 40 hours a week on work for his computer science class alone.

Boone has applied for summer jobs at Google, Microsoft and the Eaton Corp, and before he graduates wants to study abroad in Shanghai or Beijing to learn about Chinese culture and economy.

Shree Bose is making breakthroughs in cancer research.

Class of 2016

Bose made a breakthrough in cancer research when she was still in high school -- and it earned her national acclaim and praise from President Obama, who twice publicly recognised her achievements.

After watching her grandfather struggle with liver cancer, Bose was determined to help out in any way she could. So she chose to study the protein AMP kinase and its reaction with the chemotherapy drug Cisplatin. She noticed that when she inhibited this protein, Cisplatin was allowed to begin destroying cancer cells.

Her work with the cancer drug Cisplatin won her first prize at the Google Science Fair last year and recognition as one of Glamour magazine's Young Amazing Women of the Year.

Now a freshman at Harvard, Bose is planning to study molecular biology. Eventually, she would like to go to medical school to become a physician.

Sitan Chen is a star mathematician and Carnegie Hall concert pianist.

Class of 2016

Before entering Harvard, Chen won third place in the 2011 Siemens Competition in maths, Science & Technology for his research that could advance how computers multi-task data. His project is called On the Rank Number of Grid Graphs, and could result in new advances in studying mathematical graphs.

He's also a talented pianist and violinist who performed at Carnegie Hall six times.

Chen is a freshman studying maths and economics. He plans to become a university professor, is a member of the Harvard Glee Club, and serves as an analyst in the Harvard College Consulting Group where he provides consulting services for businesses, non-profit organisations, and student groups in and out of Harvard.

Matthew Chuchul is a leader in uncovering important Harvard history.

Class of 2013

Last year, Chuchul was in the basement of his on-campus residence, Harvard's Pforzheimer House, when he discovered a cabinet full of documents that hadn't been seen in decades. The documents created a timeline of the history of co-ed residential living at Harvard, and dated back to the '60s.

Chuchul gathered the documents and conducted countless other research to launch an exhibit this past February called 'The Residential Revolution' about the beginnings of co-ed residential life at Harvard in conjunction with the Harvard College Women's centre.

The exhibit included photos and the original documents, and Chuchul tracked down former residents of Pforzheimer House to speak about their experiences living in the co-ed dorms in the 1960s, when co-ed living was much more controversial. The exhibit brought the community together, gathering more than 100 alumni, students, administrators, and Harvard staff.

An Aloian Memorial Scholar and senior at Harvard, Chuchul is co-chair of his House Committee, providing genuine leadership to his fellow students.

Aiden C. de B. Daly is an accomplished book illustrator and research scientist.

Class of 2013

Daly is a senior whose scientific research in the field of quantum computational chemistry, DNA computing and population genetics have benefitted Harvard, NYU, and the American Museum of Natural History, respectively.

But his interests go beyond research: he is an accomplished book illustrator, an app developer (he developed an iPhone app for field scientists), and the co-captain of the Harvard kendo club, devoted to the Japanese martial art.

The computer science major will begin studies at Oxford next fall as a Rhodes Scholar.

Julian B. Gewirtz is a talented writer who is a columnist for The Huffington Post.

Class of 2013

Julian Gewirtz is a senior who is passionate about Chinese culture and language. He is fluent in Mandarin and is studying modern Chinese history at Harvard.

He also regularly writes about China as a columnist for both the Harvard Crimson and The Huffington Post.

He is a talented writer, who has won prizes for his poetry, and he has served as the publisher of the Harvard Advocate, the oldest collegiate literary magazine in the country.

He will be attending Oxford University next fall on a Rhodes Scholarship.

Laura Hinton creates safe social spaces in the Harvard community.

Allan J. Hsiao is a young leader dedicated to Asian studies.

Class of 2013

A senior economics and east Asian studies double major, Hsiao is the editor-in-chief of the academic journal the Harvard Asia Quarterly, as well as the only undergraduate student on its board.

Hsiao serves as executive producer and director of the Identity Fashion Show and is the co-founder and President of the Harvard Actuarial Society. A devoted student of Asian studies, Hsiao attended a summit for young leaders in China.

He will begin studies at Oxford next fall as a Rhodes Scholar.

Adam Kern teaches philosophy to inmates at a Boston prison.

Class of 2013

Kern had been tutoring at the Suffolk County House of Correction when, during the summer before his junior year, he overheard several conversations among the inmates about issues of justice and right and wrong. Kern believes strongly in the social value of philosophy, and says he wanted to give the inmates a place to talk about the issues that mattered to them.

Kern's goal is to 'make ideas more accessible' in a way that will help people connect through their ideas. One of the ways he's done this is with a digital education computer program he developed with the help of an MIT student that explains philosophical logic with visual analogies.

One of Kern's papers has been published in the renowned Oxford philosophy journal Analysis. Additionally, he also serves as the goalkeeper for the Harvard Club Soccer team.

Dawn Loggins overcame abandonment and homelessness and still made straight As.

Class of 2016

Loggins is attending Harvard on a full scholarship after overcoming poverty and homelessness.

She was abandoned by her parents when she was in high school and found herself homeless and helpless. The people in her community rallied around her, offering her food, shelter, and support.

During this time, she channeled her energy into her schoolwork and activities: she participated in her high school's band club, photography club, cross-country team, and National honour Society. She also scrubbed floors as a janitor at Burns to earn extra money--all while making straight A's.

Now a freshman at Harvard, Loggins has started her own non-profit to help other students in disadvantaged situations find success. Her organisation has so far raised over $35,000 to give others the opportunities to which they might not otherwise have access.

Dalumuzi Mhlanga started a non-profit in Zimbabwe to train young entrepreneurial leaders.

Class of 2013

The Zimbabwe-born Harvard student was back home the summer of his freshman year when he started his non-profit, Lead Us Today, whose mission is to inspire Zimbabwean high school students to make change in their communities and the world through leadership and entrepreneurship.

Mhlanga started the organisation with 64 students, which quickly grew to 200 by the end of the summer. The now more than 500 students of the program have gone on to start over 20 community development projects, including a recycling program which may be replicated in other Zimbabwean communities.

His efforts have named him winner of the 2011 Forbes College Social Innovator Contest and one of the 10 Outstanding Young Persons of Zimbabwe.

Rebecca Nadler was the first Harvard student to win a national title for skiing on the Harvard ski team.

Class of 2014

A Harvard junior, Rebecca Nadler won a national title for skiing on the Harvard ski team--the first time a student at Harvard has ever accomplished this feat.

Competing in the giant slalom at the NCAA Championships, Nadler beat a rival skier from the University of Vermont by just 0.38 seconds, securing first place. Nadler is being dubbed 'the greatest skier in Crimson history,' having also brought Harvard its first EISA Carnival win in another giant slalom alpine event.

Carolina Ragolta is a science wiz on track to fulfil her childhood dream of becoming an astronaut.

Class of 2013

Ragolta has spent two summers working at the Kennedy Space centre and one summer working at Ames Research centre in Mountain View, Calif., where she developed an artificial membrane with the same capacity for photosynthesis as a leaf.

While Ragolta already has a scholarship from NASA, her work earned her a coveted internship with the organisation as well, where she hopes to return after graduation for a job.

In addition to these accomplishments, Ragolta has also served as president of the Delta Gamma sorority and a member of the Sablière Society and the Cuban Students organisation.

Treavor Scales is a star football player who has acted in a German play.

Meghan Joy Smith is eliminating the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Class of 2013

Meghan Joy Smith has worked throughout her college career to increase well-being and mental health on the Harvard campus.

The senior from Canada has worked with the Student Mental Health Liaisons to raise awareness of and erase the stigma around mental illness, so that students can easily recognise the signs and request help for stress or other mental health issues.

She is an active Drug and Alcohol Peer Advisor and won a scholarship from the Harvard Alumni Association for her work on campus.

Abby Sun has become a powerful advocate for sexual health.

Nithin Tumma has conducted game-changing research in the treatment of breast cancer.

Class of 2016

Nithin Tumma has made some incredible breakthroughs in the field of breast cancer research.

His research on the role of molecular pathways in breast cancer could potentially lead to more effective therapies in the treatment of the disease. This research earned him first place (and $100,000) in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search last year.

Now a freshman at Harvard, Tumma has said that he plans to double-major in computer science and biology. He has said that he would like to have a career in computational biology.

Nina M. Yancy gives a voice to impoverished youth.

Class of 2013

A talented dancer, Yancy is a member of Harvard Ballet Company and Expressions Dance Company. She also teaches dance to low-income youth at CityStep, a local dance school in Cambridge. Yancy likes working with children, and has also worked with developmentally-challenged youth in Peru in her studies abroad.

She has interned at a number of prestigious organisations, including the British House of Commons, CNN, and the centre for American Political Studies. She also serves as first class marshal.

Yancy says she's very interested in the topics of 'silence and speaking, what goes said and unsaid, and how to effectively communicate.' She is studying social studies, health policy, and communication at Harvard.

She will begin studies at Oxford next fall as a Rhodes Scholar.

Phillip Z. Yao makes sure children all over the world have access to quality education.

Class of 2013

Yao is motivated by his passion for education. He is a mentor in the New York City Prep for Prep program, a program that places promising students of colour in prestigious private schools. He has also worked in Mayor Bloomberg's office on a new computer science curriculum for New York City schools.

He also founded a virtual library for over 1 million students in India with Pratham, the largest NGO aiming to provide quality education to underprivileged children in India. And he was the chair of education policy on the Harvard Undergraduate Council.

Yao is also an accomplished pianist and poet. He is a senior majoring in physics, who will begin studies at Oxford next fall as a Rhodes Scholar.

Jenny Ye is an advocate for women's rights and education and has worked to develop young female leaders in the tech field.

Class of 2013

Politics have always fascinated Ye, who had the opportunity to serve as an Institute Of Politics student liaison for Kim Gandy, the president of the National organisation for Women. This role incited a larger interest in women's issues, and now, as president of the IOP, Ye is an advocate for women's rights and educations.

Ye teaches coding to girls at the Community Charter School of Cambridge at a summer mentoring program she led in New York through CodeED, an organisation which employs volunteer engineers to teach computer science to at-risk youth. She is an advocate for developing young female leaders in the tech field.

Ye's interest in politics goes back to her childhood growing up in the Chinatown neighbourhood of New York City, when she participated in a youth training program through a Chinatown tenant-organising group while still in high school.

Jonathan Yip overcame cancer to pursue his dreams of studying and working in politics.

Class of 2013

The summer after his freshman year at Harvard, doctors discovered a life-threatening tumour in Jonathan Yip's knee. Despite taking a year off from school for treatment, Yip remained active; he maintained his position as Under-Secretary-General for Harvard Model United Nations, and became involved with an organisation called Kids vs. Cancer, where he promoted legislation for cancer research.

Just one week after chemotherapy ended, Yip began an internship at the White House on the National Economic Council. Since then, Yip has also worked on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's campaign in New York City, and serves as the editor-in-chief of the Harvard Political Review.

Yip graduates in May, and has plans to work for McKinsey & Company as a business analyst, but will remain active in policy work.

Angela Zhang conducted research that could lead to more effective treatments for cancer.

Class of 2016

When she was still in high school, Angela Zhang won $100,000 and first prize in the 2011 Siemens Competition in maths, Science & Technology for her research on a nanoparticle system that might cure cancer.

She likened the nanoparticle system to a Swiss army knife because of its many functions: it is capable of targeting tumors, eradicating cancer cells, and monitoring treatment responses all at the same time.

The project could potentially lead to a far more effective cancer treatment.

Zhang is a freshman at Harvard, who told us that she plans to continue science research.

Harvard isn't the only school with incredible students.

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