Annual Science Buddies Award Recognizes Superior Community Service From a Top Science Student
Science Buddies is proud to announce Nithin Tumma, an 11th grader at Port Huron Northern High School in Port Huron, MI, as this year's winner of the Craig Sander Outstanding Mentor Award. The award is given in recognition of the quality of Nithin's contribution and commitment to the Ask an Expert Forums for the 2010-2011 season. Nithin will receive a $300 scholarship.
In addition to the time spent volunteering with Science Buddies, Nithin completed his own advanced science project this year. He won a first place award at the 2011 Michigan Science Fair and went on to participate at the 2011 Intel ISEF where he won both the Best of Cellular and Molecular Biology Category Award and a First Place Award for his project: "Identifying Novel Mechanisms of Cytochrome-P450 2E1 Regulation." There is a known correlation between having Type 2 diabetes and the increased likelihood of developing cancer. Nithin's investigation in rats of the ways in which insulin or metformin (two drugs commonly used to treat Type 2 diabetes) alters Cyp2E1, a liver enzyme that helps eliminate carcinogens, may help shed new light on the relationship between Type 2 diabetes and cancer formation.
Honorable mentions in our review of high school mentors at Ask an Expert this year go to Shyamprasad Radhakrishna, a 12th grader at Amador Valley High, Pleasanton, CA, and Yurimar Jaen, a 10th grader at Mast Academy, Miami, FL. Both students will receive an iTunes gift card in recognition of their strong performance as AAE mentors.
A Community of Science Experts Helping with K-12 Science Questions
Ask an Expert is an online forum that enables students and families to get assistance with science projects. Our team of volunteer "Experts" is comprised of adults from science and engineering fields and top high school students. These "Experts" work together to help troubleshoot experimental procedures, direct students who are having trouble finding or narrowing a topic, assist with questions about data and results, and offer guidance for students with questions about presenting a project at a science fair. At any step of the scientific method or engineering design process, students can post a question at Ask an Expert and receive quality help. With each answer an Expert provides, she may help a student move from viewing a project as "simply an assignment" to seeing it as something exciting and fun. For volunteers, Ask an Expert offers a way to make a difference in the effort to increase K-12 science literacy.
Giving Back Starts Early
High school mentors like Nithin receive community service credit for volunteering at Ask an Expert, a measure of social awareness that has become more and more important in college applications. Beyond the official community service credit, mentors who work with the program over the course of a school year find it a rewarding way to help the science community. They get to share what they know, interact with professional scientists and engineers, and be a part of a worth nonprofit organization. The program challenges these high-achieving students to articulate science concepts and suggestions to K-12 students in ways that are easy to understand, supportive, and encouraging, and mentors often do additional research in various areas of science in order to best respond to questions.
The Outstanding Mentor Award was established in honor of advisory board member Craig Sander to show our appreciation for exemplary AAE mentors.