This 18-Year-Old Student Is Part of the Brittanica’s '20 Under 40' List

We're putting a spotlight on Maria Isabel Layson in this month's Candy University feature.
by The Candy Staff   |  Apr 24, 2022
Image: INSTAGRAM/ISABEL_LAYSON
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It’s not an easy feat to discover a medical breakthrough, fly to a different country to present your findings at age 16, and win awards. But Maria Isabel Layson seems to have ticked these off of her bucket list and all before she officially became an adult.

In 2019, Maria Isabel—or Zsazsa as she likes to be called—discovered that the local berry variant called aratiles exhibits antioxidant properties that help fight diabetes. A 16-year-old student of Iloilo National High School at that time, Zsazsa decided to join the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair—one of the world's biggest international pre-college science competition—in the U.S. and present her findings. 

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Despite not winning the competition, Zsazsa still ended up winning in life. In the same year, she won the Best Individual Research in Life Science award at the Department of Education's National Science and Technology Fair. In 2022, she joined the exclusive list of Britannica's 20 Under 40: Young Shapers of the Future, under the Health and Medicine category. Putting her achievements and goals for the future aside, Zsazsa is still your regular college student. Right now, she is a freshman at the University of the Philippines - Visayas who enjoys swimming, playing football, and singing. We can't wait to see where Zsazsa's path leads to next!

In this Candy University student feature, get to know more about Maria Isabel Layson:

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