Teenage success stories

In this day and age, there are vast amounts of teenagers, all across America and around the world, who are coming up with world changing ideas, creations, and inventions. You might wonder, “At such young age? How did they come so far? Where did they start? How were they able to do what they did?”, and several other questions

Below I will share links and brief summaries of these young people’s inspiring achievements so that you learn about them and maybe you can get a little bit of inspiration of your own. Want to start a new business? Build a more effective app? Create a new pancreatic test for cancer treatment? The world is yours!

Jack Andraka: The teen prodigy of pancreatic cancer.

Jack is a high school sophomore who invented an early inexpensive detection test for pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancers. He has earned numerous awards, and worldwide recognition. Through his research, he created criteria for having a sensor that is inexpensive, rapid, simple, selective, and minimally invasive.

He used resources of Google and Wikipedia to find a listing of 8,000 different types of proteins that are found in pancreatic cancer. The mission was to go through all of these different proteins and see which ones would serve as a biomarker for pancreatic cancer. High levels of the protein would have to be found in the blood stream and in all pancreatic cancers, especially those in the earliest stages. The protein that checked out all these requisites is called mesothelin.

A biology class about antibodies and an article on carbon nanotubes collided in his mind and gave him an idea: if he weaved a bunch of these antibodies into a network of carbon nanotubes, he would have a network that would still have a reaction to one type of protein, but due to the properties of the nanotubes, it will change the electrical properties of the the amount of protein present. Since carbon nanotubes are flimsy, he would have to use paper for support, and thus came up with making a cancer test strip out of paper. The final step would be to pour some antibodies and carbon nanotubes  into some water. Mix it up, dip the paper, and you get a test strip for pancreatic cancer.

Jack emailed his procedure and idea to 200 different professors at John Hopkins University and the National Institute of Health. Only one of the professors accepted his idea and allowed him to do the research and testing for the test strip for pancreatic cancer.

For more information:



To look at more science prodigies, their inventions, and how they created what they did, go on Google Science Fair:


Ishaan Patel: Founder of Planting Pencils, a non profit organization.

Planting Pencils is a charity that raises money and collects school supplies for underserved and underfunded schools in America and in the world.

Ishaan started by asking his classmates, teachers, and community to donate pencils, crayons, rulers, calculators, used computers, laptops, and books, in order to donate them to Connecticut.

After contacting schools, he petitioned state legislatures and the United Nations for support. Then, he and his parents formed Planting Pencils as a legal 5301 charity, as a long term commitment to improve the lives of children.

For more information:


Sophie Houser and Andy Gonzalez: Inventors of Tampon Run.

Tampon Run is a game app where a character runs down the street and shoots tampons to enemies; the enemies can't confiscate your tampons. It was created to discuss the taboo of menstruation in an accessible way. They created this app at a summer program called Girls Who Code, a non profit organization that is trying to close the gender gap in technology.

Fore more information:


Hello:) My name is Alefiyah Vahanvaty, and I am a sophmore at the Stroudsburg High School. I love to write, read, play tennis. 

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