George Cheng

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
Durham, North Carolina

Rewriting the Rules 

Making a difference starts with changing how the game is played. 

Diabetes has taken a physical, emotional, and financial toll on George Cheng’s family. Instead of feeling resentment, George made the conscious decision to channel his energies into understanding and empathy. “Recognizing that a change was needed, I committed myself to academic and athletic endeavors. Not just to escape my situation, but to uplift my family’s conditions,” George says. As one of the most promising STEM students in the country, George dedicated himself to researching Type 2 Diabetes and finding new and better ways to treat the disease. He ultimately created a proof-of-concept for a wearable microneedle patch that only costs $3 per day. George’s research is published in journals including the Journal of Emerging Investigator and Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. His work earned first place at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Biomedical & Health Sciences. For George, the biggest reward is the difference the patch can potentially make in patients’ quality of life by providing a more affordable, easier-to-use treatment option. “I aim to be a scientist dedicated to researching low-cost Type-2 Diabetes therapeutics, putting patients over profit.”

George hopes to bring other students along this path, particularly those who have been traditionally excluded from STEM education. He founded STEMable, a nonprofit dedicated to bridging the educational gap in rural areas by providing free STEM experimentation kits and workshops to underprivileged communities in rural counties. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) recognized George’s efforts and has promised to increase the STEM budget for underrepresented counties as well as to introduce biomedical engineering to elementary and middle schoolers using curriculum George helped create. “We seek to diversify the STEM landscape and, in doing so, nurture future professionals who understand the need for affordable healthcare,” George says.

“My long-range goal is to become a bioengineer and an entrepreneur who can make products that positively impact millions of patients suffering from uncurable diseases,” George says. In the meantime, he will continue to proactively introduce new and innovative solutions to how community problems are addressed. His efforts include empowering the homeless through art and job training, fundraising for pediatric cancer, advocating for high-quality early learning opportunities around the world, and advancing climate justice. As socially conscious as George is, he knows the importance of living a balanced life, and excelling athletically is part of the equation. “Sports and physical activities have always been vital for mental rejuvenation, team building, discipline, and resilience, all of which are indispensable traits for an aspiring entrepreneur.”




  • Varsity Letter Winner
  • #0, #24

Cross country

  • Varsity Letter Winner
  • #1524
  • Track and Field

    • Varsity Letter Winner
    • #11

Academic Honors & Awards

  • Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair – EU Contest for Young Scientists Top Award
  • North Carolina Science and Engineering Fair 1st Place Grand Award
  • International BioGENEius Challenge Top Honors Recipient
  • United State Stockholm Junior Water Prize Finalist
  • 3x North Carolina Student Academy of Science 1st Place Winner
  • 2x American Junior Academy of Science Nominee (2022, 2023)
  • National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium 1st Place,Coca-Cola Scholar Semi-FinalistBryan Cameron Impact Scholarship Finalist
  • Pete Conrad Scholar – Conrad Challenge O’Neill Symposium Top Finalist
  • World Science Scholar (2022 Cohort)
  • TacoBell Live Más Scholar
  • North Carolina International Science Competition – 1st Place, National Geographics Explorer Invitee
  • Rising Explorer Scholar – Explorers Grant
  • 2x North Carolina EconChallenge 1st Place
  • 3x Young Investors Society Stock Pitch Competition North Carolina 1st Place
  • 3x North Carolina Music Teacher Association Gold Award (2020, 2021, 2022)
  • 2x Young Artist Audition North Carolina 1st Place
  • TacoBell Ambition Accelerator State Finalist
  • Sigma Xi: Student Research Showcase Engineering Top Presenter, iFoRe Presenter



School & Community Involvement

  • Varsity Speech and Debate President
  • 3x Teen Volunteer of the Year
  • NCSSM Foundation Attaché Member
  • UniVent (Environmental Engineering Community Organization) President
  • STEMable Founder and President
  • Altra Founder
  • Paintfluence Founder
  • Boy Scouts Senior Patrol Leader
  • Eagle Scout Hall of Honor Inductee
  • Isabella Santos Foundation Fundraising Lead
  • Save the Children Action Network! (SCAN) North Carolina Chapter President
  • Earth Prize Ambassador
  • Water Environment Federation (WEF) Leader
  • Cary Teen Council and Trans Human Rights Association Member





“Life does not always present situations of our choosing, but we can choose how to respond.”

~ George Cheng ~