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Gatton Academy’s Jason Zhang moves to top 40 finalist round in Regeneron Science Talent Search

Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science student Jason Zhang (’21, Bowling Green HS) has advanced to the finalist round in the Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS) 2021. The 40 finalists are each awarded at least $25,000, and the top 10 awards range from $40,000 to $250,000.

The Regeneron STS is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.Produced by the Society for Science and sponsored by Regeneron, the Science Talent Search focuses on identifying, inspiring and engaging the nation’s most promising young scientists who are creating the ideas that could solve society’s most urgent challenges.

Gatton Academy student Jason Zhang.

The 2021 finalists were selected from 1,760 highly qualified entrants, all of whom completed an original research project and extensive application process. Earlier this month, the Society and Regeneron named Zhang among the top 300 scholars. The 40 finalists were selected from the 300 scholars based on their projects’ scientific rigor and their potential to become world-changing scientists and leaders.

“I am incredibly excited that Jason’s hard work and persistence has been recognized by his being named a Regeneron STS Finalist. This is an incredible honor. Jason is a remarkable scholar who also contributes in meaningful ways to our community,” said Dr. Lynette Breedlove, Director of The Gatton Academy. “I appreciate the dedicated faculty members at Western Kentucky University and Gatton Academy staff who present opportunities to Gatton students and mentor them along their paths to infinite possibilities.”

Zhang’s research, “The Photocatalytic Single-Electron Oxidative Cyclopropanation of Ene-Ynamides with 2,6-Lutidine N-Oxide: Synthesis of Bicyclic Amides,” was mentored by Dr. Yongming Deng.

Zhang becomes the first Gatton Academy student to reach the finalist stage of the storied competition.

Said Zhang: “I am truly honored to become a 2021 Regeneron STS Finalist. I am so grateful for all the opportunities that Gatton has provided me, from rigorous college classes to many research opportunities. I am super excited to meet and get to know the 39 other finalists. Being a Regeneron STS finalist gives me an invaluable experience in learning how scientific research is conducted. I wish to continue pursuing scientific research in college and wish to become a science researcher.”

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Zhang will participate in a virtual competition from March 10-17, 2021, undergoing a rigorous virtual judging process to compete for more than $1.8 million in awards. He will also have an opportunity to interact with leading scientists and display his projects to the public during a virtual event on March 14. Usually held in person in Washington, D.C., the 2021 competition will take place virtually in order to keep the finalists and their families safe during the ongoing pandemic.

The top 10 Regeneron Science Talent Search 2021 winners will be announced during a live-streamed virtual awards ceremony on March 17. In total, more than $3 million in awards will be distributed throughout the Regeneron Science Talent Search, including awards to finalists as well as $2,000 provided to each of the top 300 scholars and their schools.

For a list of this year’s finalists, visit www.societyforscience.org.

From Western Kentucky University

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