Rice-Baylor scholar earns national recognition, $2,500 from USA Today
Wiess College junior Steve Xu became one of 20 undergraduates nationwide to join USA Today's 2008 All-USA College Academic First Team. The group of selected students consists of undergraduates throughout the country who excel in various fields.USA Today featured the 20 winners who took home $2,500 in prize money. Xu estimates that between 550 and 600 undergraduates applied for the team this year.
Xu, a Rice-Baylor medical scholar, said he thought his research lab project set him apart from the other applicants. His research involves examining bending mechanisms of materials designed for heart valve replacements. Xu said if the device is good enough for bending it could be planted in people.
"I've always been interested in research," Xu said. "It's a part of developing new technologies to lead to better outcomes for patients."
Xu also volunteers for a robotics program at Jane Long Middle School - an underperforming school about 20 minutes from Rice. The program is part of an after-school science and engineering competition program for seventh- and eighth-graders. Xu also participates in intramural sports, is a member of the biomedical engineering society and works in the research lab.
Xu said he applied for the team after stumbling across the application while searching for scholarships and fellowships.
"I thought I'd try it out," Xu said. "I turned in my application. I was surprised I won."
Xu said he did not have any major plans for his prize money yet.
"I'll probably save it up for tuition this year," Xu said. "Nothing too exciting.
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