Thomas Hunt may technically be a high school drop-out, but not for the reason you might think.
For the 17-year-old, dropping out of Saratoga High School was a necessary step towards his effort to find a cure for cancer. This past spring, Hunt went through the competitive process of becoming a Thiel fellow, granting him $100,000 to pursue his scientific investigation.
According to Mercury News, Hunt plans to use the money to buy lab equipment and travel to other labs to meet others in the field.
Hunt's interest in science began after he studied genetically modified corn for his eighth grade science fair, using the nearby SENS lab to conduct his research. After completing his freshman year of high school, Hunt made the decision to leave school and begin cancer research full-time.
"He [Hunt] is really exceptional in that he's not exceptional. In other words... he actually makes a proper contribution just like people twice his age," explains Aubrey De Grey, a chief science officer at the SENS Research Foundation.
Hunt's journey to find the cure for cancer is being documented on Wired's "Teen Technorati."
"I believe very strongly that you need to pursue exactly what you're interested in immediately," says Hunt on "Teen Technorati." "I try to emphasize that in my project, where I try to get the results now because cancer's not gonna wait another 10 years."
To see more of Hunt and other Thiel fellows, watch Teen Technorati on Wired.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Saratoga is part of Silicon Valley.