News Release| Phi Kappa Phi; Cal State L.A.

Note to reporters: To request a digital photo or to arrange an interview with David Wang, please contact the Public Affairs office at Cal State L.A., (323) 343-3050.

Biochemistry student garners University’s annual Phi Kappa Phi honor

At 19, CSULA’s outstanding senior to head to MIT

Los Angeles, CA Cal State L.A.’s outstanding senior David T. Wang (Walnut, CA resident)—who will complete his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry this spring at 19 years old—is the recipient of CSULA chapter’s $500 Phi Kappa Phi fellowship.

Picture of David Wang.

Wang will pursue a Ph.D. through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program starting this fall. He is also the University’s nominee for this year’s Phi Kappa Phi National Graduate Fellowship.

A Dean’s List student, Wang is a member of the CSULA’s Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society—the oldest and largest national honor society dedicated to the recognition and promotion of academic excellence in all fields of higher education.

“David is an outstanding candidate for receipt of a [national] Phi Kappa Phi fellowship,” said CSULA’s Chemistry Professor Scott Nickolaisen. “He shows remarkable ability to understand [and solve] complex concepts. ... Of all the students I have known in my role as a professor and adviser at CSULA, I would place David as one of the top five in terms of his intellectual ability and academic performance.”

Wang is also a recipient of the 2008 Student of the Year and Honors Scholarship presented by the University’s G.E. Honors Program, and the CSULA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry’s 2011 Katherine Carter Award in Scientific Writing.

Wang took advantage of CSULA’s Early Entrance Program (EEP) to start college at the age of 15. EEP admits extraordinarily gifted youngsters—some as young as 11—directly into college, providing the early entrants with monitored evaluation, regular counseling sessions, and the opportunity to study with like-minded peers.

Wang said, “One of the best aspects of this program is the support the students receive. EEPsters benefit not only from the advice of a very dedicated staff, but also from the wonderful professors, diverse campus, and peer interaction fostered by the program.”

“The faculty [members] are extraordinarily committed to their students, and the guidance provided by my professors has been invaluable during my time at CSULA,” he added. “In particular, Dr. Ellis has been a fantastic mentor and research adviser, and it was under his tutelage that I became interested in exploring the links between chemistry, biology, and the Earth sciences.”

Also at Cal State L.A., Wang currently serves as vice president of the EEP student government and is a member of the Student Affairs Subcommittee in the College of Natural and Social Sciences. He has also been actively involved with the University’s Associated Students, Inc. and the CSULA Amnesty International.

Off campus, he has volunteered as an event supervisor for the L.A. County Science Olympiad since 2008.

Additionally, he works as a research assistant in Professor Andre Ellis’s geology lab at CSULA, leading a team in developing stable isotopes as tracers of chromium contamination in groundwater. He also conducted research on drug resistance in ovarian tumors with the Dorigo group at UCLA as a volunteer in the summers of 2008 and 2009, and as an Amgen Scholar in the summer of 2010.

According to Ellis, “David is more than ready to take on a career at the forefront of academic research. His intellectual ability is second to none and he has been able to understand advanced concepts in isotope geochemistry with ease. I have no doubt that he will be competitive at any level and make unique contributions to the field.” 


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