Saturday, December 22, 2007
Isha Jain
Isha Jain thinks math and science are cool.

In the fifth grade, she started a math camp. By sixth grade, Jain was breezing through college-level work and trigonometry classes. When she was in the eighth grade, she aced advanced calculus.

Her taste for science started at 9 when she created a paradigm to explain the molecular structure of candy. It sounds sweet, but also sophisticated -- teachers in the U.S. and abroad have used her methods in the classroom. Before she was old enough to buy sweets at a PG-13 movie, her candy-making findings were featured at major scientific summits.

Recently, 16-year-old Isha used both skill sets to identify what causes growth spurts. Not only did she think her findings were cool, but so did the journal "Developmental Dynamics," which published her work. The Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology went beyond just the thinking: It gave her a cool $100,000 scholarship.

Update: Watch the Live Video interview
Friday, December 14, 2007
Rissi Palmer
She sounds like a country singer. She's got the soul of a country singer and the moves to match. But some say Rissi Palmer doesn't look a country singer.

To that, the 26-year-old Palmer responds, "I'm what you might call real corn-fed, I'm a country girl, born and bred." Those are lyrics from her hit single, "Country Girl." The song is the first by an African-American woman to hit the Billboard Hot Country chart in 20 years.

Palmer's success is a big "touche" to the critics but it's an even bigger inner victory for herself. She was offered a pop record deal with top producers who worked with the likes of Janet Jackson. But Palmer held out, while struggling with odd jobs, for her true passion -- country music.

Update: Watch the Live Video interview
Monday, December 10, 2007
Cell Phones for Soldiers
"Hey mom ... I love you and miss you, but I'm pretty busy ... so gotta go ... Bye." I talk to my mom several times a day, and probably like a lot of people, I take it for granted. That's a feeling that only gets stronger when you consider soldiers who are in a war zone this holiday season and how expensive calling loved ones overseas can be.

When Brittany and Robbie Bergquist of Norwell, Massachusetts, heard of a soldier having to pay almost $8,000 for a phone bill to call his family from Iraq, they wanted to do something. With $21, the brother and sister duo, then 12 and 13, respectively, started Cell Phones for Soldiers. The organization turns old cell phones into minutes of prepaid calling cards for U.S. troops stationed overseas.

People donate their old phones to the teens. They came up with the idea to sell them to a recycler for $5 and use the money to buy calling cards. Since they started three years ago, the pair has raised more than $1 million in donations and sent 400,000 minutes to troops. They hope to increase that amount nearly tenfold in the next five years so that more soldiers can call and say, "Hey, Mom."

Update: Watch the Live Video interview
Monday, December 3, 2007
Cecelia Ahern
For a moment, she considered writing under a pseudonym. But 26-year-old Cecelia Ahern is proud of the name she has as the daughter of Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern. In fact, she's used it to successfully author four fiction novels.

At 21, she received $1 million to write her first novel, "P.S. I Love You." It was a worldwide best-seller and is being made into a movie staring Hilary Swank. She is now writing her fifth novel and is serving as co-producer for the TV series she co-created, "Samantha Who?"

Ahern would inevitably be in the political spotlight because of her family, but, thanks to her personal successes, she has created her own spotlight in the film and literary worlds.

Update: Watch the Live Video interview

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