Jack Andraka was just a fifteen year old Maryland high school sophomore when he invented an inexpensive early detection test for pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancers. After a close family friend died of pancreatic cancer, Andraka (then a ninth grader) became interested in finding a better early-detection diagnostic test. He learned that the lack of a rapid, low-cost early screening method contributed to the poor survival rate among individuals with pancreatic cancer. After thinking further about the problem, he came up with a plan and a budget to put his ideas in motion.
Still a teenager, Andraka’s groundbreaking results have earned him international recognition, most notably a 2014 Jefferson Award, the nation’s most prestigious public service award, 1st place winner in the 2014 Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, a 2014 National Geographic Explorer grant, the 2012 Intel ISEF Gordon Moore Award, the 2012 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Youth Award, Advocate Magazine’s 40 under 40 award, and he’s also the 2014 State of Maryland winner of the Stockholm Water Prize.
In addition, Andraka was First Lady Michelle Obama’s personal guest at the 2013 State of the Union Address. He speaks to audiences of youths and adults all across the globe about his personal story, research, and his ideas for STEM education reform. He has been featured in several documentaries including Morgan Spurlock’s Sundance Film Festival entry, “You Don’t Know Jack,” Linda Peters’ award winning film, “Just Jack,” Ken Burns’ upcoming documentary about cancer, as well as 60 Minutes, The Colbert Report, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, CNN, BBC, Fox, Rede Record de Televisão, and radio, newspaper, and magazine articles around the world.
Andraka speaks at a wide variety of locations including universities, schools, technology organizations and corporations, hospitals and the education sector. His audiences range from youth—children and teens through to adults in the science and technology fields.
Andraka is a student at Stanford University, Class of 2019. He is a member of the National Junior Wildwater Kayak team, a Life Scout and has won numerous awards in national and international math competitions.