BALTIMORE December, 2012 -- “People at the very top don't work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder,” Malcolm Gladwell writes in his 2008 book Outliers. He could have been referring to the current and former students of The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth who earned top honors in the year’s major academic competitions and scholarships.

Academic Competitions: Success at Intel, MATHCOUNTS

The nation’s top academic competitions gather profoundly talented high achievers. That was much in evidence this year when  CTYers took top places in the Best in Category award at the Intel competition. Shyamal Buch, from Folsom, Calif., took top honors in the Energy and Transportation division, and Ryota Ishizuka of Cos Cob, Conn., won in Engineering. Both Buch and Ishizuka participated in CTYOnline courses. 

CTYers also took top honors in the 2012 MATHCOUNTS regional and national “bee” style contests that attract the nation’s best math minds. CTYers placing at nationals were second-place winner Ashwin Sah from Portland, Ore. (CTYOnline), and quarter-finalists Sean Shi from Saratoga, Calif., (CTY Summer Programs), and James Lin from Winchester, Mass. (CTYOnline). Lin was also part of the team representing Massachusetts, which took the top team spot. 

CTYers named 2012 Rhodes Scholars

CTYers’ drive to be extraordinary paid off for former CTY students who earned a 2012 Rhodes Scholarship. The Rhodes, perhaps the world’s most prestigious scholarship, is given annually to 83 undergraduate seniors in designated countries who demonstrate exceptional academic performance, leadership, and character. 

Former CTYers earned five of the 32 awards made to American students in 2012. Julian Gewirtz, a Harvard senior from Hamden Conn., participated as a CTY Summer student, CTYOnline student, and through membership in CTY’s Study of Exceptional Talent. Margaret Hayden, a Stanford University senior from Brunswick, Me., took courses in the CTY Summer Programs and CTYOnline.

In addition, Benjamine Liu, a Yale senior from Westlake Village, Calif., took courses in CTYOnline and the CTY Summer Programs. Yale senior Dakota McCoy, from Wexford, Pa., took CTY summer and online courses and qualified for the Study of Exceptional Talent. And Phillip Yao, a Harvard senior from Caldwell, N.J., participated in CTYOnline courses.

CTY’s Study of Exceptional Talent welcomes record number of qualifiers

CTY’s Study of Exceptional Talent (SET) conducts research on an exceptionally talented membership and provides counseling, mentoring, and guidance to its precollege population. To qualify for SET membership, students must earn scores before age 13 of 700 or higher on either the math or critical reading section of the SAT. In 2012, 571 students met or exceeded SET’s requirements and were offered the opportunity to join SET.

SET members have been said to be at least one-in-ten-thousand in the population for their academic precocity. Their ranks include fourteen-year-old Deepika Kurup, who took the top prize in the 2012 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for her water purification system prototype that runs off solar power and shows promise for improving the lives of 1.1 billion people worldwide. Other SET members earning top honors were Anin Sayana of Cupertino Calif., (third place) Anishaa Sivakumar, Murrysville, Pa., (fourth), and Brandon Gong, Garden City, N.Y. (top 10 national finalist).

“The capability and promise of students in our Study are exceptional,” said Linda Brody, Ed.D., director of the Study of Exceptional Talent. “Our goal in counseling these students is to help them find the resources they need to achieve their potential. However, our research is also intended to serve a larger group of students as we seek to identify the interventions that are effective in meeting the academic and social needs of high ability students. Clearly, out-of-school options such as CTY and academic competitions have been shown to be important mechanisms for students to access advanced and challenging content and to interact with intellectual peers," she said.

Making discoveries that benefit humanity

Some CTYers win academic prizes. Others make discoveries and inventions that would raise eyebrows if accomplished at any age.

They’re CTY students such as Sohail Zahid, Daniel Peng, Leslie Myint, and Anvesh Annadanam, now Biomedical Engineering undergraduates at Johns Hopkins. This year the news research site Futurity profiled them and the new suturing prototype they developed to be used for safer closures after abdominal surgeries. Such surgeries see postoperative infection rates of 9-15% and cost an estimated $2.5 billion in preventable medical costs, which the prototype, described by the team as “half-pliers and half-hole punch” could significantly reduce.

Considering that CTY students founded Facebook, co-founded Google, and preside as the world’s reigning diva of pop music, chances are good that CTY students will stand front and center in the upcoming discoveries and achievements that literally transform the world. Who will be next? Tune in to 2013. #