NAAS Scholarship Winner October 2011: Kenny Lei
STEM Star. President of the Science Olympiad.
Tech Entrepreneur. Founded Techware, a computer service company.
Global Volunteer. Launched technology education in sister school in Nepal.
Meet Kenny Lei.
A high school senior from California, Kenny embodies the all-around high school student through his outstanding achievements in technology, work, and community service, and the Discus Awards is proud to recognize Kenny for his excellence in and outside the classroom.
Kenny is the winner of the October 2011 National All-Around Student Scholarship, a scholarship for high school students presented to one select Discus Award winner every month of the academic year. From among thousands of Discus Award winners and accomplishments in 10 attribute categories, a panel of judges has chosen Kenny as the recipient of the $2,000 college scholarship.
The Discus Awards, a high school recognition and scholarship program honoring students who excel in and out of the classroom, looks beyond grades, test scores, and win-loss records and recognizes students for their multi-dimensional talents and passions.
Kenny is the brother of Bonnie Lei, the September 2010 Discus Scholarship winner, making them the first siblings in Discus Awards history to both win the $2,000 college scholarship. Kenny has displayed tremendous ability in science through leadership and competitions, outstanding business acumen through the founding of his software company, and great global citizenship through his contributions to his sister school in Nepal, and the Discus Awards is proud to shine the spotlight on him.
| “For the past 3 years, I conducted independent research in computer science, ranging from robotics at Harvey Mudd College to computer simulation at Cal Poly Pomona. I won the US Army Excellence Award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and won 1st place at the Los Angeles County Science Fair.”
Kenny has passed along his knowledge through leadership positions such as his current term as President of Science Olympiad, an organization he's been a member of since 6th grade. He is a delegate to the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference and a Lifetime Fellow of the American Junior Academy of Science. Kenny is also a member of his school's Solar Car team, which won 2nd place at Hunt-Winston Solar Car Challenge.
| “I founded Techware with my personal savings when I was 13 years old. I established the company to sell computer software and hardware, and to provide services including web design, virus removal, hardware installation, and troubleshooting. My clients include the military, schools, and senior citizens. I volunteered my service to local organizations, such as designing a Boy Scouts website.”
Founding his own tech company wasn't enough to satisfy this young entrepreneur. In fact, his tech company was merely a domestic creation; Kenny's sights were set to the sky. One of eight students selected as an INSPIRE intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he worked on the Deep Space Network (DSN), an international network of antennas that supports spacecraft missions. Kenny helped design software that created a simpler graphical interface for controllers to use at DSN sites.
| “I am fostering the education of disadvantaged children. I am actively involved in my school’s chapter of Namlo International and launched technology education in our sister school in Nepal. I initiated lessons utilizing technology such as interactive math games, songs, and stories recorded on media. I donated equipment and software to assist learning and gathered contributions from the community.”
Kenny's domestic service includes his work as President of his high school Math Club. Through his leadership position in this club, not only did he help coach the MathCounts program at a local middle school, but also he brought in other Math Club members to ensure the program's sustainability. As a former participant in MathCounts, Kenny realized the importance of getting youth interested in math, and he applied his leadership abilities and passion for service to make a tangible difference in his community.