Onkar Sandhu tackles subjects such as math and English, but nothing compares to his work in biology.
Last month, he published his first medical abstract in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. His work also was presented at the 63rd annual American College of Cardiology Science Expo in Washington, D.C., but Onkar had a good reason for not being there.
School came first.
His work was on the study of smartphone heart readers, specifically the San Francisco-based application AliveCor, and if it could detect and correctly diagnose irregular heartbeats.
Onkar took samples from 110 patients as a volunteer at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center in Fresno under the guidance of Dr. Sanjay Srivatsa and his father, Dr. Lakhjit Sandhu.
"He took an early interest in some of the work that I do," says Onkar's dad, a cardiologist in Fresno. "He's always learning and always on the go."
When he isn't studying medicine or diving into textbooks for his many Advanced Placement courses, he enjoys playing basketball, watching his favorite NBA players Kobe Bryant and DeShawn Stevenson and volunteering at Saint Agnes Medical Center.
Rangasamy Gnanasekaran, a mentor and family friend, says, "Onkar has extended his wings beyond the classroom."
School: Clovis North Home: Clovis
Parents: Lakhjit and Devinder Sandhu
Jadon Lippincott, 16, Tulare
School: Tulare Union
Parents: Marc and Michelle Lippincott
Achievements: A mathematical wonder, Jadon accelerated his math courses in middle school and is completing AP calculus, a course normally taught to seniors. It's one of three advanced placement classes on his schedule. "He's a wonderful young man who strives in the classroom," AP calculus teacher Tracy Cooley said. He also is an Eagle Scout leader in the Boy Scouts, and volunteers as a swim coach and Sunday school teacher. He excels in writing, with state-recognized works in the Voice of Democracy Patriot Pen (eighth place) and AMVETS Americanism Essay (ninth) contests, and was a runner-up in the Veterans of Foreign Wars' Voice of Democracy contest.
Caitlin Phelps, 16, Tulare
School: Memorial High
Parents: David and Patty Phelps
Achievements: Caitlin gets straight-A's in school and also shines in her philanthropy work.A starting guard for the Panthers varsity team, she was named the Offensive Player of the Year.
In November, she organized a book drive for National Family Literacy Day and collected more than 2,000 books with her group of teen volunteers, donating them to a handful of nonprofits in Tulare to help low-literacy children, says Kim Torrez, her volunteer supervisor at the Manuel Torrez Family Resource Center, who describes Caitlin as a "dynamo." For her work, Caitlin received the Violet Richardson Award, given annually to Tulare's teen volunteer of the year.
Daniel Angel Robles, 15, Del Rey
School: Sanger High
Parents: Maria and Ismael Robles
Achievements: Daniel entered high school as quiet and shy but has blossomed in engineering and science, Spanish teacher Mary Rascon said. "He faces challenges head-on and has become a role model to his peers." Daniel produces stop-motion videos using LEGOs and posts them on YouTube. He's also part of the school's MESA Club (Math, Engineering, Science Achievement). A former Boy Scouts troop leader, Daniel wants to pursue engineering and is writing a book on LEGOs and engineering for high schoolers.