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TribBlog: Revenge of the Nerd

Bellaire High School senior Li Boynton is smarter than you, so she gets to watch the State of the Union with Michelle Obama.

Li Boynton, one of three top winners at Intel ISEF 2009.

Bellaire High School student Li Boynton sounds like one of those people you want to hate for having done more at 18 than most people will do in a lifetime. But alas, it's hard to hate someone who's won medals and scholarships for finding a cheap way to test water's cleanliness. (Some of us were happy just to pass our science classes.)

Now she can add "hanging out with Michelle Obama" to her list of accomplishments. Li will be one of 24 people to watch tonight's State of the Union in the First Lady's box, and according to the Houston Independent School District, she'll be seated next to the fashionable First Lady.

"We hope other students will look at what she has done and will be inspired to immerse themselves in science, engineering and math and do their part for the nation and the world," said a White House press release.

Li was an early over-achiever. In the fifth grade she invented a solar distillation device "in case she ever got stranded in the middle of the ocean." (Some of us just watch LOST and game-plan.) And after winning second place in last year's International Sustainable World Project Olympiad, she was briefly featured in USA Today. And of course, she's a serious artist as well.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Li's going to get the First Lady's advice on which Ivy League school would be best for her — she's already been accepted at Yale and is waiting to hear from others.

Today can't be completely celebratory — she finds out at 4 p.m. if she's a finalist for the Intel Science Talent Search, the most prestigious science competition for high schoolers. (I'll update when the announcement come out).

“I'm really nervous” about meeting the First Lady, she told the Chronicle. “I don't know much about politics, and I'm afraid I'll say something stupid."

She's mortal after all, it seems.

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