2023 Milken ScholarsPhoto 8 of 21
Young students in Los Angeles are getting hands-on science experience thanks to David Lee. As president of GEAR, which provides free STEM programs for underserved students, David led a monthlong science camp in which 80 elementary and middle school students examined DNA in strawberries, built solar ovens out of pizza boxes, observed the properties of water by making ice cream and constructed lava lamps to study density. GEAR donated 2,000 science activity kits to local elementary schools and will teach 20 classes to more than 3,000 students through a partnership with Hearts of Los Angeles.
A graduate of Larchmont Charter School, David is an AP Scholar with Distinction and a QuestBridge College Prep Scholar. He received a Quest for Excellence STEM Award, National Merit Scholarship Letter of Commendation, and silver and gold President's Volunteer Service Awards. David founded Larchmont Charter's first Science Olympiad, leading the 30-person team to fourth place in Southern California. He researched the behavior of mice after spinal cord injuries as an INSPIRE intern at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Burda Lab and helped students combat misinformation as an intern with Agents of Influence, a spy-themed educational video game. Committed to destigmatizing mental health, David partnered with a social worker to implement mental health protocols as project leader for the Better (You)th Initiative. He is co-president of thebraintree.net, which compiles resources and student-written articles on mental health. With the Koreatown Youth + Community Center, David organized mental health conversations and trained peers across area high schools. He was president of Hope in LA, recruiting 30 volunteers, raising funds and coordinating more than 100 gatherings to distribute food, clothing and toiletries to unhoused people.
David is an accomplished pianist and has performed at Carnegie Hall. The president of Music for Sharing, David recruited 27 student musicians to perform at local hospitals. He served as president of Young Angels Choir, which has performed at Good Samaritan Hospital, Disneyland and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
David will study cognitive science at Yale and plans a career in medicine.
All photos should be credited to "Milken Family Foundation" unless otherwise noted.