Our Siemens Competition Winners
October 1, 2012
Dr. Goutham Narla awarded first Harrington Distinguished Scholar
October 1, 2012
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Parents’ Testimonials

Deborah & Dennis Smith

We vividly recall the day when Blake came home from his interview with Dr. Narla at Mount Sinai School of Medicine for a possible summer internship in 2010 through his high school’s science research program. From the interview alone, Blake was so impressed with Dr. Narla’s lab and excited about the prospect of participating in research on cancer. Dr. Narla accepted Blake as a summer intern and although the high school research program only required 90 hours to be logged, Blake willingly spent over 300 hours in the lab researching pancreatic cancer. That experience alone provided him many science research competition opportunities, such as the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair held later that year in Los Angeles where Blake competed against students from 50 states and 60 countries. Out of seventeen categories, Blake came in first in the Cellular and Molecular Biology category.

The following summer of 2011, Blake was eager to get back into Dr. Narla’s lab where he worked with his lab partner Vickram and forged a wonderful friendship. Together they logged over 400 hours each in their research on lung cancer. Their research enabled them to enter the prestigious Siemens Competition where they were selected as a finalist for the regional round. Winning Regionals they became National Finalists, thereby granting them the opportunity to compete at the final leg of the competition held at George Washington University where Blake and Vickram were among twenty students nationwide. Here they came in fourth place and shared a $30,000 scholarship for college. This was the first time in our Oceanside community where a high school student made it to this level! It was an incredible experience for us to see the hard work Blake and Vickram put into their research together and to watch them present this amongst their peers and professionals in the field. We know it was even more meaningful to them that Dr. Narla attended and showed his support.

Blake is currently a senior at Oceanside High School and applied to several outstanding universities. We believe what will separate Blake from the rest of his colleagues is his science research internship at Mount Sinai School of Medicine which provided him the ability to excel in a field he is very much interested in and the ability to grow into a mature young adult; both of which are a tribute to the opportunity and learning environment Dr. Narla has given to him.

In conclusion, we are so proud of Blake for all of his accomplishments and very grateful to Dr. Narla for being such a wonderful mentor to him. We are certain through his continued support and guidance, Blake will reach his eventual goal of becoming an MD/PhD, Oncologist.

Dr. Umesh K. Gidwani

It was 7 pm and I had just finished another action packed day as the cardiac intensivist at the cardiovascular institute at Mount Sinai Hospital, a very prestigious heart center at a very prestigious academic medical center. I texted my son ‘Let’s go, I’m tired and hungry’. He texted me back ‘I’m not done yet, I have one more experiment to run’.

Vickram was a sophomore in high school in the summer or 2010 and had returned from his four week tennis camp in Texas (he could not find a hotter place to train!) when I asked him if he had any interest in working in Dr. Narla’s lab. Dt. Narla was well known to be a Doogie Howser, MD type of guy – brilliant and full of youthful energy and a great motivator who really inspires youngsters in the field of Science. Vick joined the lab under Dr. Narla’s tutelage and was immediately entranced by the quality of science and the creativity and camaraderie in Dr. Narla’s lab. Very often he was so immersed in his work that he would refuse to leave until it was late in the day.

The next summer Vick truncated his annual tennis camp to 2 weeks so that he could start his work with Dr Narla earlier in the summer. What a journey it has been. I have never seen my son so completely engulfed in ‘work’ and the science that he pursues with the team at Dr. Narla’s lab. These have been two productive summers that have led to Vick and his teammate making the Siemens National Finals, and instilling in him a sense of pride, motivation and direction, like I have never seen before. Even more remarkably, Drs. Narla and DiFeo made the trip down to Washington, DC and were beaming like proud parents when their protégés made their award and scholarship winning presentations!

I cannot thank Drs. Narla and DiFeo enough for the invaluable job they do in motivating the youngsters of today to pursue science and discovery so that these leaders of tomorrow are inspired to contribute to this great nation of academics, innovators and entrepreneurs. With the leadership of Drs. Narla and DiFeo, the future greatness of our country is secure.