January 11, 2015
By Soumya Ravichandra of OC Scholar
On Sunday, January 11, OC Science had their first Science Talk of the year. After a brief introduction about the goals and prospects of OC Science, they introduced guest speaker Kevin Lee. In addition to being a freshman at Harvard, Kevin was the 2nd place winner of the INTEL Science Talent Search Competition and won $75,000 for college scholarships. Eager to hear about Kevin’s experience and his passion for science, the room was filled with enthusiastic students anxious to learn about his journey to Harvard and beyond.
Kevin graduated from University High School in 2014. His zeal for science began in 6th grade when the movement of Earth’s tectonic plates fascinated him. He became an active and stellar member of his Science Olympiad team in middle school. Upon reaching high school, he found classes to be monotonous and yearned for a challenge. The news that a Michigan High School Basketball Star unexpectedly died after making the winning shot in his game caught his attention. It sparked his curiosity and he was inquisitive in finding out what could have caused this unfortunate tragedy. After researching on the Internet, Kevin found that due to overuse of the heart muscles or certain birth defects, the heart can get thicker, and can grow irregularly. As these do not show up in doctor results, they cannot be curbed at an early stage. Kevin found a diagram on the Internet that measured the electrical activity in the heart. Unfortunately, this diagram did not account for the motion of the heartbeat, and as a result was inaccurate. Kevin met with numerous UCI professors, and took a Differential Equation Class at UCI in addition to balancing his schoolwork. He changed this diagram into x,y, and z axis using linear components. Furthermore, he found vectors for recharging and found particular angles in which he could determine whether the heart was healthy or not. He created a mathematical model of the heart and submitted it to the local science fair. His model helps in the treatment of arrhythmia and other heart conditions.
After winning at the county and state fair, he went to Washington D.C. where he met the president and won second place for his outstanding achievements. He also went to London where he conducted further scientific research. Recently, Kevin won an exclusive trip to Italy where he worked on understanding bacteria in the gut.
Throughout the seminar, Kevin had an open-minded outlook on his life and his achievements. At Harvard, he finds his peers to be ambitious, and believes they constantly challenge him to do better. To the younger students in the audience, Kevin told them, “Life is exciting if you approach it the right way. Somewhere out there, there is something incredible waiting to be known.” In general, the event was a huge success. Everyone learned a lot from him; his determination, perseverance, and dedication. He was a great inspiration, and he made all the students want to work hard and win the INTEL Science Fair too!