While playing for the Monta Vista girls golf team last week, Natalie Ng came oh-so-close to a hole-in-one.
The 17-year-old's tee shot came to rest just six inches from the cup on the par 3 seventh hole at San Jose's Santa Teresa Golf Course.
If the ball had gone in, it would have been an unforgettable moment for the Cupertino teenager. It wouldn't, however, have been the best thing that happened to her this month.
Ng recently learned she is a winner of a $25,000 Davidson Fellows Scholarship for her breast cancer research.
This latest award is another in a long list of accomplishments for the high school senior. Ng has had impressive showings over the years at competitions such as the International BioGENEius Competition, the Intel International Science and Engineer Fair, and the Google Science Fair.
Ng says her success stems from a simple fact: science for her is fun. "There's just that feeling when you discover something that is really special," Ng says.
Ng worked on her most recent project (officially titled: MicroRNA Prognostic Signatures and Prediction Models for Distant Metastasis-Free Survival (DMFS) in Breast Cancer) while interning at Redwood City's Ingenuity Systems.
Ng's work attempted to identify cancers that were more likely to metastasize, or spread, and were therefore better combated with a whole-body such as chemotherapy. Cancers not likely to spread would be better candidates for localized treatments.
Ng says she is thrilled to win the scholarship, but is adamant that winning competitions is not what she is after. She says, in fact, if that were the goal she'd never actually win any. "If you are only doing science to win a competition," Ng says, "it's difficult to actually get through the project, it doesn't seem possible."