Annual Judith Resnik awards recognize female math, science standouts

Twelve 11th-grade girls, one from each of Harford County's high schools, were honored for their achievements in math and science, as well as extracurricular activities, during the annual Dr. Judith Resnik Luncheon Saturday at Harford Community College.

The luncheon was started 27 years ago by the American Association of University Women in honor of Resnik, the second American woman in space, who was killed when the Challenger shuttle exploded in 1986.

Each honoree received an AAUW certificate and certificates from State Sen. Barry Glassman, Harford County's House of Delegates members, Harford County Executive David Craig, the Harford County Council and Harford County Public Schools. The young women were introduced by members of the local AAUW branch.

The honorees

Sarah Tye, from Aberdeen High School, who has liked math since elementary school and considers pre-calculus her favorite subject. She is passionate about softball and manages the boys' basketball team. Sarah is thinking about pursuing a career in nursing.

Morgan Sulzbach, from the Aberdeen Science/Math Academy, who has already analyzed a DNA sequence of a protein from a plant to try to determine the protein's function. Morgan is also passionate about softball and has been helping with fundraising and awareness efforts for the Cancer LifeNet system at Upper Chesapeake Hospital's Patricia and Scott Kaufman Cancer Center, which will open later this year. Morgan is considering a career where she can help people and the environment.

Marisa Adelman, a biomedical student from Bel Air High School, developed a passion for math when she won a Pi contest in which she recited 370 digits of Pi. Marisa is also talented as an artist and had two artworks displayed. She is also recognized as a leader who can comprehend complex subjects and then share her knowledge with her peers.

Leah Valdes, from C. Milton Wright High School, will be a summer intern at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center and has already taken four college-level classes at Harford Community College. Leah likes to run cross-country and do track events, and is also the principal cellist with the Harford Youth Orchestra, as well as a participant in the All County Strings and Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra. She would like to pursue a career in architecture.

Monica Attia, from Edgewood High School, wants to go to medical school to study neuroscience. Her mission work, especially in New Orleans and Toronto, has provided her with some of her most difficult yet rewarding times. Monica hopes to continue to nurture her humanitarian efforts with mission work in Tanzania.

Casey Baker, from Fallston High School, considers chemistry her favorite subject, perhaps because her mentor, Miss White, is her Advanced Placement Chemistry teacher and her parents have jobs in the chemistry world. Next year, Casey will serve as a Master Tutor in one of Miss White's chemistry classes. Casey wants to study biomedical engineering with the goal of working with prosthetics. She is also passionate about lacrosse and plays varsity for Fallston during the school year and NEMS lacrosse during the summer.

Trinity Sprague, from Harford Technical High School, is specializing in animal science and is the vice president of Future Farmers of America. Her aspiration is to become a physical therapist so she can help others. Trinity received the Girl Scouts' bronze and silver awards, participates in many sports and also enjoys performing in musicals.

Lynsey Blackburn, from Havre de Grace High School, likes science and math because of their analytical nature, and wants to get a Ph.D. in physical therapy or have some other health related, science-based career. She also recently participated in an after-school Mock Trial Team competition and cares about helping others and the environment. Lynsey works at a summer camp where she helps kids learn crafts and teaches them about the environment.

Genevie Mayo Johnson, from Joppatowne High School, wants to be a registered nurse after college. She spends most of her time studying but also plays volleyball and tennis for her school. This summer, she will be volunteering in a hospital.

Ellen Shephard, from North Harford High School, loves science and is passionate about anatomy as well as running. She sees a correlation between her science-based courses and the mechanics of running. Ellen was selected to attend the UMBC Bitz and Bites Conference, and she would like to become either a physician's assistant or a pharmacist.

Casey Sumlin, from Patterson Mill High School, is passionate about the sciences and music. She has tutored a third grader in reading and math and she is also a member of her school's marching band and color guard. Casey is also the incoming president of her School Key Club, a Kiwanis service-based organization. Her goal in life is to make a difference, first shown when, as a seventh-grader, she said her goal was to eliminate juvenile diabetes. She still anticipates making a breakthrough discovery, perhaps in biochemistry, molecular biology or genetics.

Lindsay Marie Kraus, from the John Carroll School, is interested in the animal kingdom and volunteered for two years at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. She also interned at the Baltimore Zoo. These activities gave her the chance to feed an octopus and to pet a rhinoceros. She is considering a career in veterinary medicine, or perhaps pre-med.

Hazel Hopkins, AAUW president for Harford County, gave an overview of the organization, which was founded in Boston in 1881 to increase educational opportunities for women, according to a press release. Anne Heidenreich, local AAUW member, chaired the event.

The guest speaker at the luncheon was Carrie Poore, team leader of the Advanced Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosives (CBRNE) Training Team at the Army's Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, according to the press release.

She also serves as the senior scientist for the Mobile Laboratories and Kits Team.

Poore told the girls she started college with no clear career plans but quickly focused on laboratory and research work. Even when she did not have a specific career in mind, she kept doing good work and "the future took care of itself."

Poore also told them to be passionate about their life and love what they do, as well as balance work and family life instead of falling into the tendency to become overly involved in a career.

AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. Members of AAUW are graduates holding an associate, baccalaureate or higher degree, or their equivalent from a qualified post-secondary educational institution. Honorees were joined by family members and teachers and administrators from their respective schools.

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