The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

Senior Cindy Pyo Named a Top 300 Regeneron Scholar

Senior+Cindy+Pyo+Named+a+Top+300+Regeneron+Scholar

On Jan. 10, Cindy Pyo (’24) was announced as a top 300 scholar in the 83rd Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS) for her research project on “Metabolic Program of Intestinal Stem Cell in Pediatric Development and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.” 

STS is a national research competition in science and math that recognizes high school seniors who show promise in their work. Pyo being named a top 300 scholar among the 2,162 applicants led to her and THS each receiving $2,000, the latter specifically for the funding of STEM-related activities in the school. 

“It still feels very unreal to me,” Pyo said. “To me, this recognition has put me a step closer to achieving my dream of becoming a physician-scientist and someone the world needs.”

Pyo considers her recognition as an STS scholar as a dream come true, as it was her ultimate goal as an aspiring scientist since freshman year. 

“Every year, I put everything I had into my project to achieve my dream,” Pyo said. “At the end of freshman year, I cold-emailed thirty college professors and was admitted to Cheng Lab, Columbia Stem Cell Initiative. Since then, I went to the lab every day after school and spent the entire past two summers doing more experiments to make my research question a meaningful question in the stem cell field.”

When the application opened in the summer of 2023, Pyo poured her heart into explaining her journey as a researcher and the progress of her project, showcasing her abilities and accomplishments throughout her highschool career. 

“When it was finally time to submit the application, I did not feel any hesitation or regret,” Pyo said. “I had done all the things I could do in my ability since freshman year for my project, and even if I was given a chance to go back in time to do it again, there was nothing I would change. So, regardless of becoming a top 300 scholar or not, the whole process of preparing for STS was itself a meaningful journey for me.” 

Ultimately, Pyo’s efforts paid off, and she was able to gain national recognition as a researcher. She was beyond excited when she opened her inbox to find the email congratulating her on becoming an STS scholar. Mrs. Aparna Subramanium, who had accompanied Pyo’s scientific journey as her Science Research teacher, also shared her jubilation. 

“Mrs. Subramanium hugged me tightly, and we started jumping up and down in joy,” Pyo said. “She took my hand and we began running around the school to meet the science department’s teachers. As she introduced me to [them] as an STS scholar, I kept thinking to myself, Is this real? Really? Did I really make it to STS?”

Pyo also received felicitations from the members of the Cheng Lab, including her research mentor, Dr. Chia-wei Cheng. 

“I know that I will cherish this memory forever,” Pyo said. “It was one of the best days of my life.”

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About the Contributor
Heeseo Yoon, Junior Editor
Heeseo Yoon ('25), Echo's Junior Editor, enjoys writing about world affairs and creating cartoons.