Calif. High School Senior Wins Math, Science AP Award
Ramya Rangan, a senior at The Harker School in San Jose, Calif., was recognized Feb. 6 as co-winner of the 2011 Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement, making her the nation’s top achiever in AP science and math courses.
Rangan and schoolmate and co-winner Albert Wu will each receive a $5,000 college scholarship, while the remaining 99 regional winners will each get a $2,000 scholarship, according to the Siemens website.
Established in 1998, the Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement is a signature program of the Siemens Foundation and is administered by the College Board. This year, 101 high school students in 50 states are being recognized, the website said.
“One of the great things about Advanced Placement is that it allows us to identify and recognize outstanding students like Ramya and Albert,” College Board President Gaston Caperton was quoted as saying a press release. “Along with the 99 regional winners, these students represent our best hope for a bright future, where America is a world leader in science, technology, math and engineering—the foundation of the 21st century economy.”
A number of Indian-Americans were among the regional winners. They are: Rakesh Goli, The Altamont School, Birmingham, Ala.; Karthik Siva, Charter School of Wilmington, Wilmington, Del.; Ellora Sarkar, Miami Palmetto Senior High School, Miami; Neha Bokil, Troy High School, Troy, Mich.; Mohit Jain, Millard North High School, Omaha, Neb.; Ravi Bajaj, Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, N.H.; Anupa Murali, Bishop Brady High School, Concord, N. H.; Kunal Sangani, Fayetteville-Manlius High School, Manlius, N.Y.; Vaishali Oza, Green Hope High School, Cary, N.C.; Swetha Doppalapudi, Morgantown High School, Morgantown, W.Va.; Ishan Sinha, University School of Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wis.; and Priya Suri, Eisenhower High School, New Berlin, Wis.
According to her bio data on the Siemen’s website, Rangan has taken 17 AP exams and her favorite class is AP physics C, because it exposed her to interesting physics problems and gave her experience with lab work.
“The lessons I learned on topics like data analysis and scientific writing have been incredibly useful in research work, and I’m sure they will continue to be useful throughout my life,” she was quoted as saying on the website.
Her love for math also strengthened as she began completing Kumon math problem sets. “Initially, my interest in math was simply motivated by a need to succeed in competitions,” she was quoted as saying. “Once I entered middle school, however, I began to see math for what it was: a beautiful development of logic at its finest.”
In high school, she found that other sciences posed similarly intriguing problems. She took her first AP class – AP calculus BC – in the eighth grade. “AP courses gave me a chance to acquire more in depth knowledge of various fields, and to learn with gifted peers from incredible teachers,” the website quoted her as saying.
She is also taking AP music theory, AP psychology and AP English literature and plans to study computer science in college.
She was a semifinalist in the 2011 Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology. An accomplished pianist, she participated in the 2010 California State Panel honors recital for piano. In 2009, she traveled to China representing the U.S. with seven other girls at the China Girls’ Math Olympiad, where she won a bronze medal. She aspires to a career in scientific research, possibly in the field of bioinformatics, the website said.