Hampton senior named ‘Science Talent Search’ scholar
Hampton senior Kerollos “Kero” Kamel forgot about a prestigious science award he earned earlier this year, until a ceremony at the high school May 9 in which he and recipients of other awards were honored.
“Since I was named a Regeneron (Science Talent Search) Scholar in January, the recognition began to fade in my mind a bit,” said Kamel, 17. “I was definitely surprised that they invited someone who actually works for Regeneron (Pharmaceuticals) to come present the award.
“It was a cool surprise.”
Kamel was one of 300 Regeneron STS 2019 Scholars selected from 1,964 applications in the nation’s oldest science and math competition for high school seniors. Each scholar received $2,000, with an additional $2,000 going to his or her school.
The scholars were selected based on their research skills, commitment to academics and promise as scientists. Forty of the scholars were named finalists and received an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where they competed for a top prize of $250,000.
Kamel said his project, the Role of Polyploid Hepatocytes in Response to Acute Liver Injury Induced by Acetaminophen Toxicity, was inspired by work he did last summer at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Academy at Pitt.
“Basically, we overdosed some mice on (Tylenol) and tracked how their livers regenerated after the injury they sustained due to the toxicity of the high Tylenol dose,” said Kamel, who has been accepted to the Pitt School of Medicine Guaranteed Admissions Program and plans to study neuroscience, psychology, philosophy or a language, or some combination of those, as an undergraduate.
Hampton biology teacher Heather Diltz said Kamel is the first student she has taught to apply to the competition, which was begun by the Society for Science & the Public in 1942.
“I loved having Kero in class because he would always come to class ready to learn and also asked questions that dug deeper into content,” Diltz said. “His passion for medicine will carry him far in life.
“He truly wants to help people.”
Dr. Evan Delgado, who supervised Kamel at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Academy, said Kamel is incredibly well rounded.
“A few weeks into his internship, I learned that he is actively involved in his church group, as well as his senior class president,” Delgado said. “These extracurricular activities undoubtedly contribute towards his excellent public speaking composure, as well as his committed demeanor.”
Karen Kadilak is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.