Who’s winning America’s science contests? Children of immigrants.

Here are the 40 finalists in this year’s Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s most prestigious pre-college science competition. Science Talent Search alumni hold more than 100 of the world’s most coveted science and math honors, including the Nobel Prize and the National Medal of Science.

A few years ago, I attended a luncheon honoring DeKalb students with the highest scores on college entrance exams. A striking number were children of immigrants from Asia and Africa.

My son is on his high school’s academic team, so I’ve attended several statewide tournaments with teams from across Georgia. Many of the students – who typically are in the top-tier of academic performance at their schools and bound for Georgia Tech or similar elite schools – are also immigrants or children of immigrants.

new report from the National Foundation for American Policy notes 33 of 40 finalists in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search were the children of immigrants. Considered the most prestigious high school science competition in the country with three top awards of $150,000, the event is organized by the Society for Science & the Public.

(This year the competition — underway this week in Washington, D.C. — is named after its new sponsor Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. You can read about the 2017 finalists here. There are no Georgia students among them.)

Among the findings in the National Foundation for American Policy report:

•An impressive 83 percent (33 of 40) of the finalists of the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search, the leading science competition for U.S. high school students, were the children of immigrants. Moreover, 75 percent – 30 out of 40 – of the finalists had parents who worked in America on H-1B visas. That compares to 7 children who had both parents born in the United States. The science competition has been called the “Junior Nobel Prize.” These outstanding children of immigrants would never have been in America if their parents had not been allowed into the U.S.

•Among the 40 finalists, 14 had parents both born in India, 11 had parents both born in China, and 7 had parents both born in the United States. To put these numbers in perspective, people of Indian and Chinese birth represent only about 1 percent of the U.S. population each, according to the Pew Research Center.

•The evidence indicates that the children of immigrants are increasing their influence on science in America. Sixty percent (24 of 40) of the finalists of the 2004 Intel Science Talent Search had at least one immigrant parent. In 2011, that proportion rose to 70 percent (28 of 40) who had at least one immigrant parent. And in 2016, the number rose again to 83 percent (33 of 40) of the finalists of the Intel Science Talent Search who had at least one immigrant parent.

•At the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search, 7 of the 9 top awards were earned by the children of immigrants, including first place prizes for innovation and basic research. Amol Punjabi won the First Place Medal of Distinction for Basic Research for developing software that could be used by pharmaceutical companies to combat cancer and heart disease. Maya Varma won the First Place Medal of Distinction for Innovation for creative problem-solving skills. Milind Jagota was awarded the Second Place Medal of Distinction for Innovation for research on “a less costly alternative to the transparent conductors now used in touchscreen devices.”

•The children of immigrants among the finalists interviewed greatly appreciated the sacrifices their parents made to ensure they received the best education possible. “Seeing what my parents did to make a better life for their children has inspired me to do everything I can to succeed. This is the land of opportunity,” said Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna, whose father, a physical therapist, came to America on an H-1B visa.

•More than 95 percent of winners of the Intel Science Talent Search (STS) traditionally have pursued science as a career, with 70 percent earning Ph.D.’s or M.D.’s

This week, the AJC has an excellent story about H-1B visa holders. As reporter Michael Kanell explains in this brief excerpt:

Emory is one of the biggest users in metro Atlanta of the H1B visa program, which brings 85,000 people a year into the United States to fill positions for which their employer cannot find a qualified American.

But the program has come under periodic criticism. And because it lies at the intersection of immigration and jobs, it could soon be ratcheted back as part of the Trump administration’s signature efforts on those issues.

Much of the national argument has been about immigrants in American fields, factories, restaurants and construction sites. By definition, H1B holders are legal, documented workers, likely to be in labs or staring into computer screens. Roughly one-quarter of metro Atlanta’s software developers and doctors are immigrants, according to a 2015 study by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.

But just a fraction of those people are here temporarily holding the H1B visa, and there are a lot more immigrants doing blue-collar work in construction, hospitality or agriculture, said Wesley Tharpe, research director at the GBPI.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

75 comments
DeeDee Grant-McCarthy
DeeDee Grant-McCarthy

Not surprised. American kids are obsessed with what Beyoncé or kardashians are wearing.

Ken Hunt
Ken Hunt

Legal or illegal? AJC, are you to weak to do real journalism? It's great that these kids are excelling. The issue that you shy from and use children as shields for is the difference between legal and illegal. You are pathetic.

Bill Mullen
Bill Mullen

We are all immigrants or these children of illegals?

Sheryl Meyer
Sheryl Meyer

Legal immigrants and bet 99.9% of them are Asians. No secret Asians have the highest average IQ'S between the races.

Richard Stanfield
Richard Stanfield

ANYONE CAN SAY THIS BUT WE NEED PROOF THIS IS NOT JUST FAKE NEWS.

Monte Poitevint
Monte Poitevint

So what? They should be benefitting their own country. We don't want imported Democrat voters here. We don't need the Democrat's toxic agenda. With Obozo, that agenda nearly destroyed us.

Scott Boyd
Scott Boyd

And I bet since they're smart , they're probably children of legal immigrants! The problem isn't with immigrants!

Joyce Mitar Morgan
Joyce Mitar Morgan

the reason is this, those parents want the best for their kids and their kids respect the parents wishes. they work hard. Our parents today are self centered and only care about what is going on in their social life, they tend to ignore their kids, that is why so many teens are getting in trouble today. White & black kids are not taught to acheive success. They are smart, but wrong smarts, street smarts.

Tabitha Lynn
Tabitha Lynn

You could actually read the article and not look stupid.

Phillip Humphries
Phillip Humphries

Not stupid just really tired of playing the pretend word games the AJC plays with immigrants.

Phillip Humphries
Phillip Humphries

Only a moron would say anything other than a legal immigrant but tired of the play on words. I guess you look like a moron

Dennis Nash
Dennis Nash

Well of course! The kids in Atlanta get cheated on the test scores! Now N.Y stopped requiring there teachers to do testing they said it was racist! Dumbing down America!

Gaye Fox
Gaye Fox

Let them win them in their own countries!

Gaye Fox
Gaye Fox

You don't know my children Tabitha so you're speaking from ignorance. All my children are adults and very successful so don't let your mouth overload your butt.

Tabitha Lynn
Tabitha Lynn

They are in their own country, as almost all of them are the children of legal immigrants. Don't be so salty because your own children weren't as intelligent and driven.

Leonard Felton
Leonard Felton

Trump's focus is on ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS not IMMIGRANTS. Why is this so hard to understand. People with work visas get them renewed. It's the people who cross the boarder illegally or over stay a college or travel visa that's the problem.

Debra Fish
Debra Fish

immigrants or illegal invaders. The media never makes that clear.

Tabitha Lynn
Tabitha Lynn

Most of these kids are children of legal immigrants. You're so blatantly racist that you don't care though. Anyone with brown skin is an illegal invader to you.

Chuck Nalan
Chuck Nalan

That's because these illegal immigrants get educational help using taxpayer money our own American children don't get !!!!

Tabitha Lynn
Tabitha Lynn

Almost all of them are legal and legal immigrants place far more of an emphasis on education and success then the average natural born citizen. Maybe you should read the article. People like you, with children, well... your children aren't doing so well because of your attitude that it should be handed to you because you were born here.

Chuck Nalan
Chuck Nalan

Tabitha Lynn no,but if they are dreamers they are NOT legal !! My attitude is,it shouldn't be handed to dreamers either !!

Tabitha Lynn
Tabitha Lynn

Chuck Nalan Most of them aren't "dreamers" either. They're the children of legal immigrants. Dreamers, by the way, are here legally as they've been granted a deferment. In most states, children under a certain age aren't culpable when it comes to the commission of a crime.

Max Brill
Max Brill

How many were illegal immigrants ?

Max Brill
Max Brill

The point of my comment is that just about all are legal immigrants. The AJC tries at every turn to justify illegal immigration. While people who are already here need a pathway to citizenship we can't just have open borders . According to reports there is 40percent less illegal crossing . Which is a good thing.

Janet Elizabeth Schrader
Janet Elizabeth Schrader

Apparently only two since 99 pct of us are children of immigrants. Or maybe the other two are direct decendants of native americans?

Qasim Ahmad
Qasim Ahmad

Still immigrants take your job. Stop this dialog and please Understand the importance of "Legal Immigrants". And yea I too believe that illegal immigrants are criminals.

Qasim Ahmad
Qasim Ahmad

Illegal entry (or "improper entry") to the US carries criminal penalties (fines and jail or prison time), in addition to civil penalties and immigration consequences (deportation and bars from future entry). By Ilona Bray, J.D.

Qasim Ahmad
Qasim Ahmad

“Improper entry by an alien” as it is called, is a violation of Title 8 of the U.S. criminal code punishable by a fine of between $50 and $250 and/or a maximum of six months in jail.

Jay Sanchez
Jay Sanchez

What jobs are illegal immigrants taking? Oh... the ones American will not do. When Georgia cracked down on illegal immigrants several years ago, farmers lost more than $150 million because there was no one available to pick the crops. Also, those illegals pump more than $12 billion into our economy every year. How do you propose we replace that? With more cuts to Social Security? More cuts to Medicaid? More cuts to Meals on Wheels? This is not an all or nothing game.

Winston Yarde
Winston Yarde

Funny how diversity IS what makes America great!

Vince Lanza
Vince Lanza

This changes nothing........come legal or don't come.....we have plenty of legal home grown talent......

Vince Lanza
Vince Lanza

Our universities from coast to coast are loaded with future physicians, surgeons and engineers. They are graduating daily. We are self sustaining and need no assistance from outside of our borders. We don't look to 3rd world countries for anything.

RylinPaige Whittaker
RylinPaige Whittaker

Actually, we dont. There are dire shortages of physicians and surgeons across a variety of in-demand medical fields, same with specific types of engineers and fileds related to human biology and space science. Many of rhe professors in these fields are immigrants as well, requested by schools trying to keep specific areas of study alive at their universities. The US churns out Juris Doctorates like there is tomorrow though. You might die waiting for a physician specialist but at least youll have a lawyer to get that will together.

Vince Lanza
Vince Lanza

I don't believe much of anything I read on the internet. Especially coming from a cut-and-paste expert such as yourself. But you go ahead and believe whatever you'd like to.

Don S. Rowley
Don S. Rowley

Y'all kids are too dumb to succeed. Maybe that's why so many of them are getting hooked on drugs and committing suicide

Sheryl Meyer
Sheryl Meyer

I think maybe you should check out who and where they have the lowest IQ'S and test scores.

Carter Feingold
Carter Feingold

guess you need to check out the areas that have the lowest test scores and the areas with the highest test scores when you call people dumb, you stupid troll