A Short Story

At the age of 2, Andrew Hsu demonstrated his amazing attention span and problem-solving skills by assembling LEGO blocks into a robot as tall as he was. By age 5, he was already solving algebra problems. At the age of 6, Hsu scored off the charts on a standard IQ test.

At 10, he started to conduct molecular biology research at a pathology lab at the University of Washington. A year afterward, at 11, Andrew became the youngest person to ever win a grand prize at the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair. He was also the youngest finalist in the history of the Intel International Science Fair, the top worldwide high school science competition that brings together over 1500 young scientists annually.

At 12, he officially matriculated at the University of Washington. A year later, he completed the Advanced Calculus course, earning the highest grade in his class. At 16, he graduated with 3 Bachelor of Science degrees in Neurobiology, Biochemistry, and Chemistry, along with a minor in Mathematics.

That same year, in 2007, Andrew entered the Neuroscience Ph.D. program at Stanford University, where he was a Smith Stanford Graduate Fellow. In 2009, he became a Ph.D. candidate in the program and a Frances B. Nelson Fellow.

Andrew has been swimming since age 5 and was a national ranked swimmer. He was the fastest butterfly swimmer in the west coast and ranked 4th in the US for 100 yard butterfly for age group 12 and under. That year, he stopped swimming competitively upon entering college. His records, some of which are more than ten years old, still stand.

In 2002, when Hsu was 11, he and his brother Patrick founded the World Children’s Organization (WCO, www.world-children.org). Its two founding pillars are health and education for the world’s underprivileged children. The foundation has since produced a series of 130 basic English story books for the beginning readers of the English language. It has donated over 5000 volumes of children’s books and benefited many children in China, Taiwan, and the Philippines.

More recently, the foundation has started a project on health, specifically on Hepatitis B vaccinations for elementary-age children in the more remote Western regions of China (http://www.andrewhsu.me/hepbpdf). It has raised more than $100,000 for vaccinations so far, and its goal is to vaccinate more than 100,000 schoolchildren.

Andrew has also appeared on NBC, ABC, CBS, Time magazine for kids, and the National Geographic magazine for kids. His story has been included in a 4th grade text book that was published by Macmillan in 2006 in the US.

If I met myself, I might want to punch me in the face. Who's this douchebag teenager anyway? I can understand that people who know me only on paper or from media reports might think I'm a genius, arrogant, crazy, or all of the above... I've certainly encountered this before. Some people might also think I'm all lofty ideas and talk.

On the contrary, though, my honest personal assessment is that I'm "okay smart," I’m fair, genuine, and I’m definitely not conceited or arrogant. I'm serious about my work, passionate, and competitive; a good leader, but also a good team player. I'm very easy to get along with, humble, a good listener, compassionate, and I don't really get angry. People who know me can tell you this too.

As for my ideas - yes, they're big dreams and I spent several years cooking them up, but I make sure that I'm a doer for the causes I believe in. I always try to make a plan and test the waters by discussing with family, friends, and advisors. Then, I revise and execute to fruition!

Of course, it isn't good to struggle with ideas and plans that are fundamentally flawed and won't work, so I prefer to take preventative measures by testing my ideas deeply before I actually start them.

News Media   Feature Article
Richard Meyer's Interview of Andrew Hsu (1 Sept 2004) At Age 13, a Child Prodigy, Medical Researcher and Humanitarian
Seattle Times Feature Story on Andrew Hsu (11 April 2003) Issaquah 11-year-old Wows State Science Fair

At Age 13, a Child Prodigy, Medical Researcher and Humanitarian

At the age of 2, Andrew Hsu demonstrated his amazing attention span and problem-solving skills by assembling LEGO blocks into a robot as tall as he was. By age 5, he was already solving simple algebra problems.

At the age of 6, Hsu scored off the charts on a standard IQ test, ranking him among geniuses. By age 7, he had already become a fan of the works of Brian Jacques and JRR Tolkien.

At 11, Hsu became the youngest person to ever win the grand prize at the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair. At 12, he began studying at the University of Washington. A year later, he completed the Advanced Calculus course, earning the highest grade in his class. He is on pace to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree at the age of 14, and then obtain his first Ph.D. degree before he is even old enough to vote.

When asked how he feels about his precocious achievements, Hsu casually shrugs it off. “The bulk of the world is built by the bulk of the people,” he replies. “It is what one does that counts, not what one can do.”

Hsu cites Isaac Newton as the person he most greatly admires. “He more or less single-handedly laid out the scheme of the whole universe,” he explains. In hope of helping decipher the scheme of life, Hsu is now focusing his energy on genetics studies, specifically stem cell and RNAi (RNA interference) research, since winning first place prize in medicine two years in a row at the Washington State Science Fair.

In 2002, when Hsu was 11, he and his brother Patrick founded the World Children Organization. They have since been producing digital video programs about languages, science, and math for children.

" I can’t bear to see children in need throughout the world suffer,” Hsu says. “All they need are the basics: food, water, clothes, and education. Lots of groups are focusing on meeting their needs for food, clothing, clean water, and medical care. Some are building schools, but very few are providing the children with the education. But (education) is the only thing that will allow them to get back on their feet and make a difference in their lives, the only thing that will help them help themselves and other children in the same situation.”

“We know they desperately need qualified teachers,” Hsu explains, “so we made these programs, hoping to fill in on lack of teachers and teaching materials.” As of April of 2004, Hsu’s nonprofit organization has benefited over 3000 children in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, the Philippines, and Ethiopia.

“World peace is the ultimate goal for the World Children Organization,” Hsu maintains.” Without education, the problems of poverty, hunger, child labor, and other abuses of children’s rights will never end, and there will never be world peace.”

After speaking with Andrew Hsu, one walks away with little doubt that his future has limitless possibilities.

Timeline

2011

Age 19-20

What does the future hold....?

2010

Age 18-19

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2009

Age 17-18

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2008

Age 16-17

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2007

Age 15-16

Graduated from the University of Washington with 3 B.S. degrees in Neurobiology, Biochemistry, and Chemistry, along with a minor in Mathematics. Started graduate studies in Neuroscience at Stanford University.

2006

Age 14-15

Awarded Best Children's Book Award in Taiwan for his autobiography, received "Fervent Global Love for Life" Award 2006, Published “A Life of Science”

2005

Age 13-14

University of Washington Junior/Senior, Publish Autobiography in Taiwan (Chinese edition); visited Taiwan for book tour, Inducted into Golden Key and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Societies

2004

Age 12-13

Member of Western Zone All-Star Swim Team, 1st place, 100 butterfly, Western Zone All-Star Swim Meet, Invited to present research at the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS), University of Washington Sophomore/Junior, Broke 8 records in Issaquah Swim Team (age 12 and under), Ranked 4th in the USA for 100 yard butterfly swimming for age 12

2003

Age 11-12

Member of Western Zone All-Star Swim Team, Won Silver Grand Prize in Washington State Science and Engineer Fair (WSSEF) – the youngest person ever to win grand prize in WSSEF’s history, Age 11 - score 99% on ACT, Represented Washington State in Intel Science Fair (ISEF) in Cleveland – the youngest person ever for in fair’s history, University of Washington non-matriculated student – the youngest ever in history, Started public speaking and began a mission of helping needy children worldwide.

2002

Age 10-11

REACH Homeschool Association Spelling Bee Champion, Held 8 Issaquah Swim Team records (age 10 and under), Gold Medal, King County Lake Wilderness Triathlon, Co-founded the World Children’s Organization (WCO) with brother Patrick

2001

Age 9-10

At 9, completed high school courses and credits

2000

Age 8-9

Born April 1991

1999

Age 7-8

At 7, skipped to 4th grade and soon after, started Home School. Broke 4 swim team records (age group 8 and under)... moved to the Issaquah Sockeyes Swim Team. Passed Johns Hopkins University – The Center for Talented Youth test and started 10th grade math

1998

Age 6-7

Skipped to 2nd grade at West Mercer Elementary School, Mercer Island, then skipped grades again to 3rd grade at Apollo Elementary School, Issaquah

1997

Age 5-6

At 5, started swimming with Chinook Swim Team, playing violin and piano. 1st Grade, Island Park Elementary School, Mercer Island

1996

Age 4-5

Emmanuel Preschool, Mercer Island Kindergarten, Island Park Elementary School, Mercer Island

1995

Age 3-4

Started playing golf and started doing algebra

1994

Age 2-3

Started doing math calculations

1993

Age 1-2

Assembled LEGO to structures taller than himself and read first chapter book at age 2

1991

Age 0

Born in April 1991

Awards & Honors

Honors

  • Induction into Phi Lambda Upsilon, National Chemistry Honorary Society
  • Member, Golden Key International Honor Society
  • Member, Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society
  • 2003 Quaqua Protege Award
  • Invited to present research results at the annual meeting of the American Junior Academy of Sciences (AmJAS/AAAS)
  • Honorary Membership in American Association for Advancement of the Sciences (AAAS)
  • Finalist, Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2003

Sports

  • Set 4 all-time team records for the 8 and Under age category in swimming
  • Set 8 all-time team records for the 10 and Under age category in swimming
  • Set 7 all-time team records for the 11 and 12 age category in swimming
  • King County Kids Triathlon, Gold medal for 12 and Under Group, August 2002
  • Kirkland Kids Triathlon, Gold medal for 12 and Under Group, August 2002
  • Sammamish Triathlon, Gold medal for 12 and Under Group, May 2003
  • Sammamish Triathlon, Second place for 15 and Under Group, May 2003
  • 2004 PNS All-Star Team for swimming
  • 2003 PNS All-Star Team for swimming

47th Annual Washington State Science and Engineering Fair

  • BAE Systems Achievement Award - Senior Division
  • Evergreen State College Scholarship for One Quarter Tuition
  • US Army Certificate of Achievement and Medallion for Science and Engineering Excellence
  • US Air Force Awards for Outstanding Science and Engineering Fair Projects
  • First Place Award - Senior Division, Medicine

46th Annual Washington State Science and Engineering Fair

  • Presidents Award - Biology Excellence Award 2003
  • United States Army Award
  • United States Army Certificate of Achievement for Outstanding Science Project
  • The Office of Nval Research Naval Science Award - Senior Division & Scholarship
  • Art Anderson Association Special Merit Award in Engineering & Scholarship
  • Senior Division Award: Medicine and Health - First Place
  • 46th Annual Washington State Science & Engineering Fair Grand Silver Award
Favorite Quotes
21 May 07
He taught me that you need to be available to pass it on to the ones who are interested enough to want to learn.
- Ronnie Milsap, Going Places (on Charley Pride, who taught Milsap to pass his teachings on.)

14 May 07
When people eat chocolate, they are eating my flesh.
- Drissa, a child laborer in the Cȏte D'Ivoire (child slaves are forced to make chocolate under inhumane conditions in the Cȏte D'Ivoire)

03 May 07
Remember: silence helps the killer, never his victims.
- Professor Elie Wiesel, Not On Our Watch (on the international silence regarding the genocide in Darfur)

12 Apr 07
He who resolves never to ransack any mind but his own, will be soon reduced, from mere barrennesss, to the poorest of all imitations; he will be obliged to imitate himself, and to repeat what he has before often repeated.
- Joshua Reynolds, Discourse to Students of the Royal Academy, 10 Dec 1774

He was not of an age, but for all time!
- Ben Johnson, “To the Memory of My Beloved, the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare”

Every quotation contributes something to the stability or enlargement of the language.
- Ben Johnson, Dictionary of the English Language

Even when poetry has a meaning, as it usually has, it may be inadvisable to draw it out …… Perfect understanding will sometimes almost extinguish pleasure.
- Housman, The Name and Nature of Poetry

Be in general virtuous, and you will be happy.
- Benjamin Franklin, Essays, Thoughts on Commercial Subjects

Nothing astonishes men so much as common-sense and plain dealing.
- R. W. Emerson, Essays “Art”

Progress, therefore, is not an accident, but a necessity …………. It is a part of nature.
- Herbert Spencer, Social Statics

All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music.
- Walter Pater, The Renaissance

Be careful what you wish for, as you just may get it.
- Mark Granata, Jr.

My mentor, Gunter Petz, once said, “Half drunk is a waste of money.” If you are going to do something, do it right, with 100 percent commitment.
- Leon Dreimann, CEO of Salton, Inc.

Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal: my strength lies solely in my tenacity.
- Louis Pasteur

No man is truly great who is great only in his lifetime. The test of greatness is the page of history.
- William Hazlitt

Generally, he who occupies the field of battle first and awaits his enemy is at ease; he who comes later to the scene and rushes into the fight is weary. And therefore those skilled in war bring the enemy to the field of battle and are not brought there by the enemy.
- Sun Tzu, The Art of War (Chapter Six, Weaknesses and Strengths)

The Master said, “He who will not worry about what is far off will soon find something worse than worry close at hand.”
- Confucius, The Analects, Book XV

The Master said, “A gentleman is distressed by his own lack of ability; he is never distressed at the failure of others to recognize his merits.”
- Confucius, The Analects, Book XV

The Master said, “The demands that a gentleman makes are upon himself; those that a small man makes are upon others.”
- Confucius, The Analects, Book XV Tzu-kung asked, “Is there any single saying that one can follow all one’s life?”

The Master said, “Perhaps the saying about ‘consideration;’ Never do upon others what you would not like them to do upon you.”
- Confucius, The Analects, Book XV
Science
  Stem Cell and RNAi research

This research was conducted at the University of Washington, Dept. of Medicine, Seattle, Washington, from June 2004 - Present.



Bioengineering Models of Cellular Uptake, Permeation, and Product Formation

This research was conducted at the University of Washington, Dept. of Bioengineering, Seattle, Washington, from July 2003 - March 2004.



Identification, Characterization, and DNA Sequencing of the Homo Sapiens and Mus Musculus COL20A1 Gene (Type XX Collagen) with Bioinformatics and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

This research was conducted at the University of Washington, Dept. of Pathology, Seattle, Washington, from December 2002 - June 2003.