Polite Stewart Jr.
Making a mark in physics research
School: Southern University
Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.
Category: Science and Technology
Polite was 3 years old when his parents pulled him out of day care and his father began teaching him at home. He loved learning science -- and he clearly had an aptitude for it. At the young age of 14, he enrolled full time as a student at Southern University, majoring in physics. At Southern, Polite spent a summer looking for ways to mark specific proteins in cancer cells using fluorescent dye. The objective was to more easily find the cells so they could be destroyed. During a summer spent at North Carolina State University, he was part of a research team that worked to create self-cleaning, anti-glare glass that would repel vast amounts of water and oil through the use of a concept called hydrophobicity.
Polite graduated in December 2012 at 18 and is believed to be the youngest to do so in the history of Southern University. His plan is pursue a career in which he can apply the science he loves to the real world. "I just love learning," Polite said. "It doesn't matter what. That's why I like science so much. There is always something new to be discovered."