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Sunil Pai : A Profile of Academic Excellence

By Jay Kabad

HOUSTON: A few days ago the headline on page one in Houston’s leading newspaper read “Aggies to desert the big 12 and move to the SEC”. We see similar headlines all the time (including the headlines for the hot dog eating competition!). There is hardly a mention of the achievements of young scientists and engineers. It is commendable that Indian newspapers such as this publication as well as others have highlighted achievements by Indian students. Little publicity for example was given by Houston’s papers to the finalists of the Intel National Science Competition (formerly called the Westinghouse competition). Among this elite group of scholars was Houston’s own Sunil Pai, who was one of 40 selected nationwide for this remarkable honor. He was one of only three scholars selected from Texas.

Among so many of Sunil’s accolades, the notable ones are:   Regional Finalist Siemens Competition (Math/Science/Technology) 2009, National Semifinalist – Siemens Competition (Math/Science/Technology) 2010, International Finalist – Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2010, National Finalist – Intel Science Talent Search Competition 2011 and 2011 Davidson Fellow – Prodigious achievement in the filed of Science.

Among all the above, the Intel STS competition is the highest honor for a high school senior in science and math in the USA. He was invited to Washington DC for the finals which included meeting with President Obama in the White House.

The Intel STS (originally called the Westinghouse Competition) has been going on for the past 70 years. Now, Sunil has joined a very special group of 2800 talented young individuals, 7 of whom have won the Nobel Prize in the past. In addition, only 77 kids from all of Texas have achieved this honor in past 70 years. In the picture with President Obama, Sunil is in the top row to the far right.

Sunil who graduated from Kinkaid High School also participated in many extracurricular activities. He is the son of proud parents Raj and Sujatha Pai. He had admissions to MIT, Stanford, Princeton, Rice, Yale and Caltech. Sunil will be attending Stanford University this fall pursuing a degree in Biological Engineering.


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