Four years ago, it would have been hard for William Yin, an 18-year-old teenager, to imagine being awarded a $25,000 scholarship and other science accolades for his medical science research.
“You know, it wasn’t really one of the stories where I was a kid, I would love medicine and science,” said the student from Connecticut. “Before high school, I wasn’t even interested in science.”
On Aug 22, after three years in Greenwich High School’s (GHS) science research class, Yin, who will attend Stanford University this fall, was named a Davidson Fellow for his low-cost biosensor for atherosclerosis diagnosis. He was one of 20 students from across the nation selected by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development.
“The biosensor looks a little bit like a tattoo; it’s a patch that the patient is meant to place on the skin outside of the carotid bifurcation,” Yin said. “And with a simple push of a button, the diagnostic results are disbursed to the patient within 70 minutes.”
Yin said that with the development of the cost-effective, portable biosensor, he hopes to expand global access to diagnostic technology for atherosclerosis.
“Currently, most diagnostic technology for atherosclerosis tends to be incredibly expensive,” said Yin. “But an early diagnosis of the disease is crucial in preventing the onset of severe cardiac events, such as heart attacks or strokes.”
He was also the grand prize-winner in the health and disease category of the 2016 International Sustainable World Engineering Energy and Environment Project competition and finished first in the biotechnology category of the 2016 Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair.
Earlier this year, Yin, whose parents moved to the US from Shanghai 20 years ago, was named a US Presidential Scholar.
“There were many days when I would barely sleep and work from early morning to late night, on weekends, on holidays, on breaks and even snow days in the laboratory,” said Yin.
“Especially when I began experimentation for the project, I really put my all into it; sometimes it significantly detracts me from my schoolwork and my health.”
“He is the most industrious, creative student I have ever had,” said Andy Bramante, Yin’s research teacher. “His mind is certainly well beyond where he should be regarding his age.”
Yin was the captain of the GHS math team, first chair in the band in the French horn and trombone sections, a contributor to the school newspaper, a member of the tennis team and was in the high school’s musical Annie.
“I love playing with the jazz ensemble and playing with the band,” said Yin. “And I always like the sort of team environment where in the community so many others are similarly passionate about the same thing.”
Yin has a GPA higher than a 5.0 and a perfect ACT score.
In addition to Stanford, he was accepted by the Ivy League universities of Brown, Princeton, Penn and Yale. He also was accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University and Duke University, which offered him a free ride.
“I eventually decided on Stanford because the environment just fits so well with my mindset,” said Yin. “And it’s really driven by a free thinking, self-driven entrepreneurship sort of vibe.”