Natalia High School Teen Receives Emperor Science Award
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Haley Schulze, an 11th grader at Natalia High School, is part of a select group of 100 high school students who have been named winners in PBS LearningMedia’s and Stand Up To Cancer’s Emperor Science Award program. PBS LearningMedia, the online educational resource library for students and teachers, and Stand Up To Cancer, a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, received nearly 1,200 applications from eligible 10th and 11th grade students from throughout the United States.

The program is designed to encourage high school students to explore careers in science, specifically cancer research and care, through a unique mentoring opportunity. Prominent judges evaluated the students’ applications, written essays submitted online last fall, addressing why scientific research is so important in finding a cure for cancer, what scientific field they would study, and why. 

I had the opportunity to visit Natalia High School, located about 30 miles south of San Antonio, in Natalia, Texas, to meet Haley and her teacher, Anjali Dandona, who recommended she apply. When I arrived, I found Haley and her Pre-AP Anatomy and Physiology classmates in Ms. Dandona’s class ready to share a hands-on project they’d created to illustrate how neurons travel through the nervous system.  

Ms. Dandona, who is also the school’s science department chair, makes it a priority to share opportunities like the Emperor Science Award program with her students. As an Emperor Science Award recipient, Haley will conduct a multi-week cancer research project alongside Kathleen M. Schmeler, M.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Additionally, Haley will receive a Google Chrome Notebook to enhance her studies, a $1,500 stipend for expenses, and the opportunity to continue the mentoring program for her remaining time in high school.

It was a wonderful visit. Congratulations, Haley!

Click here to learn more about the Emperor Science Award program.