A high school senior from North Carolina, Linden James, has won $90,000 in the Regeneron Science Talent Search competition. James, who identifies as nonbinary, placed fifth among 40 finalists, making history for the LGBT community in the field of science and math. Their project investigated a potential treatment for traumatic brain injuries by testing the application of a thyroid hormone called T3 on wax moth caterpillars. The results indicated that the hormone could potentially benefit humans.
Maya Ajmera, president and CEO of the Society for Science and executive publisher of Science News, praised James as a gifted young neuroscientist whose research into a potential new treatment for traumatic brain injury could help improve patient outcomes. James said their parents and teachers encouraged them in scientific pursuits and that their win is a victory for inclusion.
“Being a nonbinary and queer finalist, this competition really speaks volumes to the acceptance and inclusion that the Regeneron Science Talent Search perpetuates,” James said. “I grew up in a family with two moms in a community that wasn’t always very accepting. And so coming this far is really empowering for me.”
James plans to attend college overseas and hopes to work in a field that combines science and public policy, possibly dealing with the environment or assisting developing countries. They are considering taking a year off after high school to work with children from marginalized communities. James is currently a counselor at a summer camp, volunteers with Kids Voting Durham, and is a Spanish tutor.
This win is not only a remarkable achievement for James but also a groundbreaking moment for the LGBT community in North Carolina and beyond. It serves as an inspiration for young LGBT students to pursue their dreams and make an impact in the fields they are passionate about. James’ accomplishment reminds us that diversity and inclusion are essential in promoting progress and innovation in science and technology.