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Anne Arundel’s teen scientist Jack Andraka pens autobiography

JackAndrakaBookWBy Betsy Stein

Anne Arundel County’s teenage science wiz is now a published author.

Jack Andraka, who — as a high school freshman — won the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in 2012 for developing a dip-stick sensor that detects cancer, has written an autobiography. “Breakthrough” was released this week by Harper.

“After reading all the Redwall books in elementary school, I always really wanted to write my own book and then, after listening to my talks in my travels, people would always tell me ‘you should write a book,'” says Andraka.

After an interview on “60 Minutes” in 2013, many literary agents contacted him and he clicked with one in particular, he says.

“She realized that I was super busy with school and still doing research in the lab and all of my traveling — so she recommended that I work with (journalist and author) Matthew Lysiak,” he explains. Lysiak helped him tell his story.

“Breakthrough” is about Andraka’s quest to develop an early detection for pancreatic cancer after a family friend died of the disease. It’s also a story of overcoming depression and homophobic bullying and finding the resilience to preservere and come out.

Currently, Andraka is spending time in the lab, funded by a grant as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. He’s working to improve his sensor, studying nanorobots and working on an environmental contaminant sensor, he explains. He also travels around the world raising awareness for pancreatic and ovarian cancer and the need for more research and funding. All this while attending North County High School where he is a senior and valedictorian, he says. At press time, he’d been accepted to Stanford University and the University of Virginia but doesn’t know where he will go next year.

Of all that he’s seen and done over the past four years, he says nothing topped seeing his book in print for the first time. HarperCollins is sending him on a 10-city book tour starting this month.

“I’m so excited to travel and talk about my book and help raise awareness for pancreatic cancer research and let everyone know that no matter where they start from, they can change the world,” he says.

Get your book signed by Jack

Jack Andraka will be at the following book singings next month.

April 11, 2015
575 E Ordnance Road, Glen Burnie
1 p.m.

April 12, 2015
Barnes & Noble
Annapolis Harbour Center, 2516 Solomons Island Road, Annapolis
2 p.m.


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