La Quinta Student’s Early Cancer Detection Project Earns Prestigious Recognition

LQ student James Nguyen

La Quinta High School student James Nguyen developed a research project for a cancer-detecting tooth brush that earned him recognition as finalist for the Rise Challenge. Rise is a global philanthropic initiative that provides opportunity and support to young people age 15-17 who are working toward solving humanity’s most pressing problems. Nguyen was one of 500 finalists selected from across the world and is one of the 100 Global Winners that were announced on Good Morning America.

For his project, Nguyen submitted a video presentation and research papers that highlighted his idea to use microfluidics to prototype a cancer-detecting toothbrush, gain start-up investment, and bioinformatics to model Universal CAR-T cells which can treat various cancers.

The Rise application includes a series of videos, peer evaluations, project research and other assessments.  Projects are assessed through a peer review, expert review and live evaluation in a series of activities and interviews. Nguyen’s project included him meeting via Zoom with medical directors at local hospitals as well as representatives from local start-ups who are interested in test-driving his idea. Recently, Nguyen appeared on Good Morning America as a Rise Finalist where he participated in a live interview about his project with a fellow Rise Finalist.

“We are impressed and inspired by the dedication and academic discipline James has demonstrated as he works toward his important goal of early cancer detection innovations,” said Bob Harden, Board of Education President. “James is a wonderful representation of La Quinta High School and as a scholar who is well on his way to achieving lifelong success.”

As a Rise Global Winner, Nguyen will receive lifelong benefits including a three-week residential summit with the Rise Global winners, mentorship, courses designed specifically for the Global Winner Cohort, collaboration with other winners, college scholarships, new technology, and opportunities for additional business funding and education support.

An initiative of Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust, Rise is the anchor program of a $1 billion commitment from Eric and Wendy Schmidt to find and support global talent.