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12 Harford high school juniors honored as young women leaders in math, science

Harford County high school juniors honored during the Dr. Judith Resnik awards program April 22 were, standing from left, Jenna Signorelli, Kacey LeBrun, Julianna Stevens, Brooke Ricky, Adelina Minter and Allison Frick, with speaker Dr. Jennie Hart. Seated from left, Lydia Thompson, Emmy Smith, Catherine Lewis, Jordan Althoff and Natalie Majerik, Naomi Karmel is not pictured.
Harford County high school juniors honored during the Dr. Judith Resnik awards program April 22 were, standing from left, Jenna Signorelli, Kacey LeBrun, Julianna Stevens, Brooke Ricky, Adelina Minter and Allison Frick, with speaker Dr. Jennie Hart. Seated from left, Lydia Thompson, Emmy Smith, Catherine Lewis, Jordan Althoff and Natalie Majerik, Naomi Karmel is not pictured. (Courtesy of Hazel Hopkins)

The Harford County Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) recently honored 12 Harford County high school young women in the junior class for their academic achievements, especially in science and mathematics. The young women received their awards at AAUW's annual Dr. Judith Resnik Awards Luncheon held at Harford Community College.

The honorees were accompanied by their family members, invited teachers and school administrators. Also in attendance were several governmental officials: Richard Slutzky, Harford County Council President; Chad Shrodes, Harford County Council District D; Patrick Vincenti, Harford County Council District E; Mary Ann Lisanti, Maryland House of Delegates; and Cindy Mumby, representing Barry Glassman, Harford County Executive.

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Bernadette Flynn Low, president of the Harford County Branch, welcomed everyone to the April 22 event. She summarized the history of AAUW and its mission as well as that of the Branch, which is now 61 years old.

Anne Heidenreich, is local chair of the luncheon. Heidenreich gave a brief history of the awards luncheon, which originated 31 years ago. The luncheon is named in honor of Dr. Judith Resnik who was killed in the Challenger explosion in 1986. Resnik was the second U.S. female astronaut (Sally Ride was the first). Resnik was an AAUW member and had received educational grants from AAUW. Heidenreich went on to explain that each Harford County high school selects its honoree based on her outstanding science and mathematics skills, her involvement in extracurricular activities, and her commitment to her community.

The keynote speaker was Jennie Hart, M.D., daughter of Fallston residents Eva and Bill Hart and graduate of John Carroll High School. She is a Fellow in the Department of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the University of North Carolina. Prior to this Fellowship, she was the Chief Resident of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. Dr. Hart received her medical degree from the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine in 2010. Prior to that she graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University Of Maryland Baltimore County. She is the author of numerous publications and has received many recognitions and awards. Hart is in her 11th year of medical training. However, because of the prevalence of cancer in many of her family members when she was young, her decision to become a doctor was actually made when she was eight years old.

Hart shared some examples of how remarkable, brave and courageous her patients are. They teach her about living, she said, and give back to her more than she gives to them. She has learned that every pathway has its difficulties but if it has meaning then it is worth it. The pace at medical school was fast and she was challenged to develop ways to cope with all the competing demands on her time; she used a spreadsheet to keep track of all her activities to be done each day. When setbacks occurred she would analyze them to see what she could do better. Hart encouraged the honorees to "trust your gut" because it will lead you in the right direction. She also exhorted the honorees to "keep their thirst for learning" alive. And when difficulties arise, as they will, Hart said it is important to have a support system to lean on.

The honorees are:

Adelina Minter, Aberdeen High School, would like a career that would enable her to travel and also help others, perhaps something in one of the allied health fields, maybe pharmacology. After she has her bachelor's degree she wants to volunteer with the Peace Corps or a similar organization, and then attend graduate school. She is proud of the fact that since she has been in high school she has overcome some personal challenges and can now step out of her comfort zone.

Emmy Smith, Science and Math Academy, likes to learn new things and she especially enjoys mathematics. She is participating in her school's capstone project and is choosing a mentor and subject. Emmy wants to get a degree in mathematics or engineering, possibly from the University of Huntsville (AL) or the Colorado School of Mines. Ultimately Emmy would like to be a mathematician, possibly working for the National Security Agency or the Census Bureau

Jenna Signorelli, Bel Air High School, is enrolled in its Bio-Med program and wants to pursue a medical degree. She would like to attend USC or UCLA to study health sciences or pre-med. Jenna's ultimate goal is to specialize in emergency room care or go into a surgical field, either as a MD or PA. Jenna also enjoys creative writing and dreams of using her talent to be a screen writer, possibly using her medical degree as an inspiration for and source of story lines.

Lydia Thompson, C. Milton Wright High School, is very passionate about the environment. She wants to obtain a degree in environmental architecture and engineering and ultimately use that degree to help promote sustainable building practices. Lydia is president of the Green Team and is proud of the fact that she and her mentor and science teacher, Ms. Griffiths, worked closely together to secure the Environmental Green School designation for C. Milton Wright.

Naomi Karmel, Edgewood High School, is enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program and carries a 4.85 GPA. She is interested in animal tracking and the conservation of animals and their habitats. Naomi wants to earn an MD or PhD and then conduct scientific research. Many of her teachers instilled in her an excitement about learning. She has also been influenced by professional journalists who make her aware of world happenings and varying viewpoints on current issues.

Julianna Stevens, Fallston High School, is proud of the concerted efforts she has made to maintain her high grades. She wants to pursue a medical major in college. Ultimately Julianna wants to have a meaningful career that helps others while at the same time affords her a rewarding personal life. Julianna enjoys cross-country running with her friends. Someday Julianna wants to visit Europe and especially Italy where her great grandfather was born.

Jordan Althoff, Harford Technical High School, is enrolled in its Sports Medicine program. She is on the executive board of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) which completed a project on heroin awareness that is being rotated among local high schools. She wants a career in pediatric physical therapy and also wants to pursue a doctorate degree in physical therapy. As a seventh grader she won First Place in the Maryland State Science Fair.

Allison Frick, Havre de Grace High School, is very busy with her studies and swimming. She is proud of the fact that she knows how to manage her time—a skill that she feels will help her in the future as well. She is deeply caring of others and wants to help people in both big and small ways. Allison wants to obtain a degree in respiratory therapy from Salisbury College. She hopes that her work as a respiratory therapist will also allow her to travel.

Kacey LeBrun, Joppatowne High School, is proud of her academic accomplishments. Her career goal is to work in genetics to predict peoples' traits based on their genetic make-up. Kacey is also interested in photography and art and tries to find ways to incorporate her artistic side into her extracurricular life. She has already traveled a bit and wants to do more, hopefully in a manner that also includes her interests in art and photography.

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Brooke Rickey, North Harford High School, wants to get an undergraduate degree in exercise science, perhaps with a physics minor, then go to medical school to become a sports medicine doctor. Brooke is very involved in the 4-H club and enjoys showing her cows. She also plays lacrosse. Brooke is proud that she can do all of this while still keeping up with her studies. Science is in her blood: Her parents were her science teachers in middle school.

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Catherine Lewis, Patterson Mill High School, enjoys chemistry and biology and conducting lab experiments. She wants to make a difference in the fields of mathematics and science and help create more opportunities for women in those fields. After obtaining an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering she will go to a pharmacy or medical school. She wants to help create better ways to do transplants through stem cell research, especially in the area of pediatrics.

Natalie Majerik, John Carroll High School, has been challenging herself throughout high school to take the most math and science classes she possibly can. Natalie also helps other students by organizing John Carroll's tutoring program each year. Additionally Natalie plays basketball. Natalie wants to go to college to study physics. Her career goal is to become a physician, possibly a surgeon. Another goal of Natalie's is to one day own a Mustang car!

Each honoree received a certificate from the Harford County Branch of AAUW and certificates and proclamations from the Maryland General Assembly Harford County delegation, Office of the Executive of Harford County, the Harford County Council, Harford County Public School and the Maryland State Senate.

AAUW promotes equality for and empowerment of women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. For information about the Harford County Branch contact 1aauw.harford.membership@gmail.com.

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