Harvard junior Celeste M. Yuen and Harvard Medical School student Rhonda Yantiss were among nine Boston-area students awarded scholarships for outstanding achievement in the sciences.
The two were honored with the $5,000 awards by the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation (ARCS), a non-profit organization that promotes excellence in science and engineering.
The awards banquet was on January 27 at the MITRE Corporation.
Yuen, a biology concentrator, is primarily interested in osteoporosis and bone remodeling and growth. She plans on becoming a physician.
At the banquet, she dedicated her accolade to her grandfather, who immigrated to Hawaii from Canton, China.
"He instilled in my father the importance of hard work, that you can never go wrong with good work," Yuen said.
"Even though the rewards won't come immediately, they will come and the knowledge of that should propel you forward," she said. "I am the culmination of my grandfather's hard work."
Yuen also received Harvard's 1992 Julio Delvalle Public Service Award. She used the $500 prize to launch Operation WOW!, or "What, Ooh and Why"--a public service project that gives Cambridge area fourth through sixth graders hands-on experience with science.
Participants saw demonstrations of scientific phenomena, ranging from Bernoulli's Principle to the concept of expanding gas.
In the previous summers, Yuen worked as a research assistant at Forsyth Dental Center, Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology and the Pacific Eye Surgery Center.
This summer Yuen plans to go home to Hawaii and will pursue an internship with an orthopedic surgeon.
Yantiss, a second-year medical student studying molecular biology, is interested in the effects of aging on DNA mutation and repair mechanism.
Presently, she coordinates Harvard Medical School's Cancer Outreach Program and Catholic Student Organization.
In the future, yantiss plans to integrate her research interests with clinical practice.
After meeting the recipients at the awards banquet, Faye Budlong, ARCS publicity chair, said, "This foundation was created in 1958 as a reaction to Sputnik and to support the United States' competitive edge in science and engineering. It is a pleasure knowing that people care so much about schooling and research."