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Accomplished teen
looking to change the world

 

By Melissa Robinson
Contributing Editor 

  This past summer, while many of his classmates were working at the local supermarket or hanging out at the pool or the beach, Tushar Mittal was busy performing cancer research at the Herbert Irving Cancer Research Center at Columbia University in New York City as part of a month-long internship.

Tushar Mittal (left) and his father, Bobby, enjoy some rare down time at the Starbucks on Jonesboro Road in McDonough.

Photo by Melissa Robinson

  The sixteen year-old junior from Dutchtown High School in Hampton, scored a summer internship at Columbia University, the Ivy League school which he hopes to attend one day, although he is also eyeing Emory University and Georgia Tech.

  Although humble about his accomplishments, he possesses a plethora of trophies, medals, ribbons and plaques heralding his outstanding efforts for everything from athletics to the Intel International Science and Technology Fair (ISEF) held in Washington, DC, where he not only represented Georgia this year, but the United States, against 68 other countries, earning third place in the overall competition and earning a $1,000 cash prize. He had been working on the award-winning project involving cells and bacteria waste, for a little over two years for the competition and is currently working on a cancer research project.

  “This competition is great because you always learn something new and get to meet other students who share the same passion as you,” he said.

  Mittal may look like any ordinary teen, dressed in jeans and a graphic tee, but his list of accomplishments is impressive. A typical day begins at 4:30 in the morning when he rises to get in a little extra study time, and arrives at school around 7:30 a.m. for a jam-packed roster of classes; he often stays after school for clubs or activities. It’s then home to study, eat and spend a little time with his family, before it starts all over again the next day.

  The only son of parents who immigrated here from India when Mittal was just eight years old, he said he acclimated easily into American culture, partly due to the fact that while in India, he attended International School where he learned both Hindi and English. He also said that his parents place a great importance on education and striving to be the best he can be. The standard is as high for little sister Rachel, as well. His father, who is a manager for the Kroger super-market chain, and his mother, who helps to run an after school program, have always encouraged him to do well in school.

  “My parents always instilled in us the value of education. They told me education was a privilege and not to take it for granted,” said Mittal.

  Although he seems to excel in everything, Mittal said he is most interested in science and the applications for cancer research. As a top science fair winner throughout his middle school and high school career, he hopes to major in pre-med in college. The loss of his grandmother to cancer also helped fuel his desire to research the disease

  “I want to be a neurosurgeon. Right now I’m working on a healthcare project for the science fair that deals with cancer where I’m trying to find one connection between five different cancers. I think, because my grandmother died of cancer, it’s always been my passion to study this,” said Mittal. “One of my earliest gifts was a toy medical set.”

  His high school accomplishments are many and varied. As a member of several clubs, including Beta club, Key Club, Ambassadors Club, the Technology Student Association, the Health Occupation Students of America, captain of both the Academic Team and the Math team, it’s a wonder he has time for his position on the school’s golf team, where he excelled last year and was named the 2012 academic athlete of the year. Outside of school, he is a graduate of the Henry Youth Leadership Class of 2012 and is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars. He also has a bit of a writer in him, placing second in a UGA writing competition.

  As far as his extracurricular activities, Mittal said he enjoys everything he does or he simply wouldn’t do it. In addition to the golf team, last year he was involved in a total of ten clubs. He said that ten clubs seems like a lot, but that it was never pressure because he was passionate about all of them.

  This year he is applying for the Governor’s Honors Program for chemistry or biology and said the experience would give him access to extremely talented and experienced professors from across the state.

  He said for fun, he enjoys spending time with his family, particularly his father, with whom he is very close. He said his father inspires him to be his best and that this past summer they began golfing together and soon they plan on going skydiving.

  “We are very close; I can talk to him about anything. He’s adventurous and so am I,” laughed Mittal.

  The high school student sees no limits on what he hopes to accomplish in the future and credits his parents for that, and thinks that part of his success comes from the fact that he can usually look at every situation in a positive light. He also credits his parents for that.

  “I try to always look at the positive side, the glass half full,” he smiled.

 

 

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