Stephen Yang is a planned 2023 graduate of Plano West Senior High School in Plano, Texas. Diagnosed with ADHD in 6th grade and severe keratoconus in 9th grade, he ended up struggling during his 10th grade year due to a combination of insufficient accommodations and near-blindness. Since then, he has excelled academically as an AP Scholar with Distinction and National Merit Semifinalist with a 4.5 cumulative GPA. Outside of school, Stephen is passionate about agricultural research, and was selected to represent Texas at the World Food Prize Global Youth no Institute — the highest award for high school students in agriculture — among other accolades such as 2nd place at the Texas Junior Academy of Sciences.
His other research interests include high-temperature electronics and specialty materials, of which he was named a IEEE CASS Student Design Competition finalist and an ACM IVSP 2022 conference speaker. Stephen’s prior struggles with controlling his disability compelled him to pursue disability advocacy, being a regular participant in forums such as Next Generation Youth and founding the STEMIEP division of the national nonprofit organization AYSI in order to inspire students with learning disabilities to pursue scientific research. As a member of the YALC, Stephen plans to bring his unique approach towards advocacy and education based on his personal experiences to the 1 in 5 who learn differently, with the goal of eliminating the achievement gap both inside and out of the schoolhouse door.