About the 2010-11 Competition
Students Earn College Scholarship Awards at the Eighth Annual YES Competition
On April 15, 2011, 60 high school students from across the country arrived in Washington, D.C. to present their research on population-based health problems for the Eighth Young Epidemiology Scholars (YES) Competition. This year, 562 students entered the YES Competition. Sixty Regional Finalists from 22 states and Puerto Rico were invited to present their projects to a panel of distinguished judges comprising the leading public health experts and educators. In total, 12 National Finalists received college scholarships ranging from $15,000 to $50,000 and the other 48 students each received $2,000 scholarships.
Research projects on injuries among long-distance runners and a major infectious disease affecting high school athletes captured the top prizes. Rebecca Leong, a senior at Columbia River High School in Vancouver, Washington, was recognized for her epidemiological research on injuries associated with the popular trend of barefoot running. "Barefoot running is capturing the attention of many people today," said competition judge Kenneth Moritsugu, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P.M., former Acting Surgeon General and currently vice president, Global Strategic Affairs, LifeScan, Inc. "Ms. Leong has done some remarkable work in assessing injury in the categories of those who wear running shoes, those in the transition to barefoot running, and those who are barefoot runners."
Michelle Lee, a junior at North Allegheny Senior High School in Wexford, Pennsylvania, was recognized for her research on MRSA, a superbug infection with a growing impact on high school athletes. "Ms. Lee did an outstanding job in modeling the cost-benefits of screening athletes to identify those who may have this infection," said Dr. Moritsugu. "It was a well thought-through model which determined at what point screening would be cost-effective." Since the prevalence rate of MRSA varies among young athletes according to factors such as close skin-to-skin contact, cuts and contaminated surfaces, her findings could be useful in determining when routine outpatient testing should occur.
Rebecca and Michelle each received a $50,000 college scholarship. The weekend was not just about competing for scholarship awards. The students had the opportunity to hear from top epidemiologists and health officials including Dr. Harvey Fineberg, president, Institute of Medicine of the National Academies; Dr. Howard Frumkin, dean and professor, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington School of Public Health; and Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, secretary, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The YES Competition is the nation's leading public health competition for high school students. It was created by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the College Board to inspire the next generation of public health leaders and encourage the brightest young minds to enter the field. Established in 2003, the YES Competition has awarded $500,000 in college scholarships annually to 120 high school students, for a total of $3.7 million in scholarships to date. Nearly 5,000 students from all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and American Samoa, have entered the YES Competition since its inception.
Meet all of the YES Finalists!
Back row:D. Thosani, Z.Yu, J. Ming, B. Heard, F. Lin
Front row: M. Lee, E. Gelernt, L. Wang, K. Russell, C. Celata
Back row: C. Trezza, M. Klugman, S. Hardtke, E. Bobrick, M. Katz
Front row: S. Albala, M. Hackman, M. Nocero, A. Krok, C. Green
Back row: V. Rainbolt, Y. Xiang, O. Vaskevich, N. Koyawala
Front row: B. Breault, M. Sun, T. Lin, S. Pasadyn, A. Gulbis, N. Lisse
Back row: R. Subramanian, M. Mohandas, M. Limdi, G. Lugo, C. Barker
Front row: C. Pfister, B. Dodson, J. Branch, M. Bhatta, P. Goel
Back row: K. Sanders, I. Tanguy, U. Vaidya, L. Bagwell, R. Bishop
Front row: S. Yazji, J. Ho, M. McKay, S. Kendrick, N. Boone
Back row: R. Doraiswami, M. Lehmann, A. Fang, A. Aspengren, D. DeVilbiss, R. Leong
Front row: S. Silverstein, G. Bhattacharya, M. Bharadwaj, M. Liu