CCSD Students Win Emperor Science Awards

Two Cobb County School District students recently won PBS LearningMedia’s and Stand Up To Cancer’s Emperor Science Awards. Kennesaw Mountain High School (KMHS) junior Gwendolyn Henry and Pope High School junior Hisham Kashif are two of three winners from Georgia and are among 100 award recipients from across the country. The Emperor Science Award program is an initiative designed to encourage high school students to explore careers in science, specifically cancer research and care, through a unique mentoring opportunity.

The award recipients, representing 29 states, will have an opportunity to conduct research in a lab or virtually, or a combination of both, working with an esteemed scientist on a rewarding multi-week cancer research project. Recipients will get Google Chrome computers to enhance their studies and to facilitate mentor access for those students who live some distance from their mentor’s research facility. The awards program also provides the students with a $1,500 stipend for expenses.

About 800 students in 44 states submitted applications for the awards to PBS LearningMedia, a digital educational resource library for teachers and students, and Stand Up To Cancer, a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation. Prominent scientists served as judges and evaluated the students’ applications, which included written essays addressing why scientific research is so important in finding a cure for cancer and what scientific field they would study and why. The judges selected candidates, who demonstrated awareness of emerging developments in cancer treatment, including precision medicine, immunotherapy and epigenetics. They also looked for applicants, who have an impressive range of research interests, including nanotechnology and engineering, basic cellular biology, gene mapping, bioinformatics, DNA splicing and computational sciences.

“Kennesaw Mountain High School is proud to recognize Gwendolyn Henry as an Emperor Science Award recipient,” said Dr. Kelly Ingle, KMHS Program Coordinator of the Academy of Mathematics, Science, and Technology. “Gwendolyn will represent Kennesaw Mountain High School and the entire Cobb County community as she continues to enhance her knowledge and skills through this one-of-a-kind mentorship program.”

Gwendolyn, who is a rising senior in the Academy of Mathematics, Science, and Technology at KMHS, completed her junior year with a 4.6 GPA . Last year, she completed a summer research program in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Brown University in Providence, R.I. Gwendolyn is also an accomplished dancer, having placed in the top 12 of the 2016 Youth American Grand Prix, the world’s largest ballet competition. This summer, she will attend the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program for Dance and the Arts. Gwendolyn is also a member of the KMHS Advanced Mixed Chorus. She serves on her high school’s Chorus Leadership Team, as Senator in the student government and co-president of the Men and Women of Distinction organization. The rising senior is the incoming co-president of Future Health Care Providers and is active in Beta Club and National Honor Society.

Passionate about helping others, Gwendolyn regularly participates in the annual Shop With A Mustang event, special education dances and field days. Gwendolyn is looking forward to the opportunity presented by the Emperor Science Award to contribute to cancer research and to help find therapies and cures that will help people all over the world.

Pope High School’s Emperor Science Award winner, Hisham, is a member of the first class in Pope High School’s Advanced Math and Science Academy. He completed his junior year with a 4.6 GPA, while taking the most rigorous curriculum in every core subject area.

Hisham is a member of several honor societies, but devotes much of his time to community service projects organized by the Interact Club. As an active member since his freshman year and now as president, Hisham directs key events and spends his weekends at the Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Foster Care Support Foundation. When the rising senior is not volunteering, he tutors students through the Tutoring Club. He has connected more than 200 students with tutors.

As a member of the school’s Science Olympiad Team, he medaled in multiple events. This past summer, Hisham participated in a pediatric internship, providing aid to children and parents in need. He hopes to continue this journey of service and scientific exploration and looks forward to the opportunity provided by the Emperor Science Award to help combat cancer.