2011 team

Photo of May Yang

May Yang

Libertyville, IL

Libertyville High School

Grade: Senior


Playing with my two-year-old sister, occasionally playing piano and flute, reading, Sporcle, hanging out with friends


Math Team, WYSE (science competitions), Scholastic Bowl, National Honor Society


National Merit Scholarship Recipient, Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award (2010), American Cancer Society High School Summer Research Program (2010), AIME (2011), various awards from science and math competitions


I guess you could say that I was born into a family of science, as my mom and dad have PhD's in chemistry and physics respectively. I spent much of elementary school constructing houses out of atoms and bonds from my mom's molecule-building set and listening to my dad brag about how his physics knowledge made him a superior parent.

Maybe it was my genes or maybe my home environment, but when I entered high school, I quickly discovered my niche in the science department. I love my science classes because I gain from them a better understanding of the world. I love learning about the complexity of life in biology and solving complicated problems in chemistry and physics. It also doesn't hurt that I have had amazing science teachers, especially my physics teacher Mr. Bush whose passion for physics rubs off on all of his students.

My extracurricular activities also furthered my interest in the subject. I started out freshman year by joining the math team. Though I was warned by my friends that math team was "social suicide," I quickly grew to love the challenging problems that were given to us in competitions. Then, I also joined WYSE, our science competitions club, and found it exhilarating. In particular, I have loved participating in the JETS TEAMS competition in which there is not only a math-focused section, but also an essay portion in which we deal with current issues in science.

I gained further insight into the research side of science the summer after junior year, when I participated in the American Cancer Society High School Summer Research Program. During this program, I completed my own project on the entry of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus into specific cells. I also had the opportunity to meet many other students dedicated to research and to attend lectures by prominent research scientists from the Chicagoland area.

Outside of academics and activities, I spend the bulk of my time with my two-year-old sister, Lily. She was born at the beginning of my sophomore year and since then, she has never ceased to be the center of my attention, or a distraction from my work. Watching her grow up has reinforced my interest in science; her childish curiosity about touch screens and cameras inspires me to continue asking questions and searching for their answers.

All in all, the experiences I have had up to now have led me to committing myself to science and, now, to joining the US Physics Team. I plan to continue my studies at Harvard next fall and perhaps attend medical school in the more distant future. But for now, I am looking forward most to meeting my fellow physics team members and having a great time at the training camp.

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