America’s “Top Young Scientist” Invented Soap That Treats Skin Cancer
by Trisha Leigh
Cancer is a horrible thing that affects too many of our loved ones, so if there’s one thing Americans could agree on, it would probably be curing cancer as soon as possible.
14-year-old Heman Bekele must agree, because he invented a bar of soap that can be used to treat skin cancer. He earned the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist as a result.
Skin cancer is on the rise, with new cases rising and the National Institutes of Health reporting it as one of the most commonly diagnosed groups of cancer worldwide.
There were more than 1.5 million new cases in 2020 alone.
Enter Heman Bekele, a 9th grader from Annandale, Virginia.
“I believe that young minds can make a positive impact on the world. I have always been interested in biology and technology, and this challenge gave me the perfect platform to showcase my ideas.”
Bekele spent four months competing against nine other finalists before willing the title of “Top Young Scientist.” The award competition aims to help 5th-8th graders create and innovate with the goal of changing their world.
Heman also took home a cash prize of $25k.
The runner up was Shripriya Kalbhavi of San Jose, CA, with her cost-effective patch used to deliver medication without using pills or needles.
Third place went to Sarah Wang, a 7th grader who developed a glove capable of detecting epileptic seizures.
Heman’s prize-winning soap cost just fifty cents to make, and he hopes to refine the invention and use his cash to create a non-profit to distribute the soap where it is needed most – to the hands of cancer patients.
This competition seems to prove that good ideas can and do come from all sorts of minds.
We thrive when we let go of our assumptions about children and what they are – and are not – capable of contributing.