Teen cancer researcher, author Jack Andraka to speak Wednesday at NIU

Jack Andraka
Jack Andraka

The American Cancer Society predicts that the United States will have 1,658,370 new cancer cases diagnosed and 589,430 cancer deaths in this year alone.

Experts agree that the best way to fight cancer is to stay healthy and active and to get recommended screening tests, but early detection can be difficult because of expensive, outdated testing methods.

That’s where Jack Andraka comes in.

At the age of 15, Andraka invented an inexpensive early detection test for pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancers. Now at 18, the young inventor and cancer researcher has earned international recognition for his groundbreaking cancer research.

Andraka will be the keynote speaker Wednesday, March 11, at Northern Illinois University’s Change the World Day. He will speak to more than 300 high school students from around the region about the bullying, depression, rejection and ultimate successes he encountered as he pursued his goals.

He also will discuss his first book, “Breakthrough: How One Teen Innovator is Changing the World,” which empowers teens to pursue their own dreams and to make a difference in the lives of others.

The students will also hear expert presentations from NIU’s Department of Biological Sciences. Barrie Bode, Linda Yasui and Sherine Elsawa will share their own cutting-edge cancer research and lead students in hands-on activities related to cancer, biology and human health.

Change the World Day is hosted by NIU’s STEM Read, a program that creates live events and online games, videos and educator resources to help learners explore the science, technology, engineering and math concepts behind popular books.

Book cover of “Breakthrough: How One Teen Innovator is Changing the World”“We’re very excited to bring high school students together with national experts in cancer research,” says STEM Read Director Gillian King-Cargile. “Jack Andraka has already accomplished so much at such a young age. I think it will be very inspiring for high school students to hear about his experiences and to learn how they can make a difference in their own communities by pursuing STEM concepts and careers.”

Throughout the day, students will also get a chance experience more hands-on STEM activities with other NIU departments including STEM Outreach, Biological Sciences, Medical Laboratory Sciences, Research Rookies, SMARTspace@NIU and others. The event was made possible with support from NIU’s P-20 Center and Follett.

University and community members are welcome to attend Andraka’s keynote presentation from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of NIU’s Holmes Student Center. Seating will be available in the ballroom’s balcony. The event is free of charge. Andraka’s books will be available for purchase during the event.

For more information, call (815) 753-6784 or email stemread@gmail.com.

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