45 Advocates Named to Help Underserved Students Compete & Succeed in Science Research Competitions

Society for Science & the Public Names 45 Advocates to Help Underserved Students Compete & Succeed in Science Research Competitions

Grants from Arconic Foundation, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and Regeneron to Fund Advocate Program

Washington D.C. April 11, 2017 — The Society for Science & the Public today named 45 Advocates who will work to expand opportunities for underserved students to compete and succeed in science research competition. The Society is also announcing a $100,000 grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and a $150,000 grant from Arconic Foundation, which will help to fund the program. As part of Regeneron’s 10-year, $100 million commitment to the Regeneron Science Talent Search, $30 million will support the Society’s outreach and equity programming and a portion has been allocated to the Advocate Grant Program.

The Advocate Grant Program seeks to open the door to scientific research for underserved students, many of whom are unaware of or unable to take advantage of science fair competitions. The Society’s Advocates help their students navigate the sometimes complicated processes involved in entering science research competitions. These competitions may include, but are not limited to, the Society’s three programs: the Regeneron Science Talent Search, Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and Broadcom MASTERS.

“Science competitions support and nurture a pipeline of talented, science-minded young people. Through the Society for Science & the Public’s Advocate Grant Program we are increasing the diversity of ideas and backgrounds that compose that critical pipeline,” said Maya Ajmera, President and CEO of the Society for Science & the Public and Publisher of Science News.

Students who compete in science competitions come away with important life skills, including learning how to write a research paper and how to present that work to peers and judges. These competitions provide students with presentation and oratory skills, inspire confidence, lead them to a potential career in science and boost the chances of admission to college and scholarships.

Now in its third year, the Advocate Grant Program has grown by 40 percent to 45 Advocate Grants awarded this year. In the program’s pilot year, the Society named nine advocates. That number rose to 31 in the program’s second year. For the 2017-2018 term, the Society received 236 applications from 42 states and Washington, D.C.

“We are thrilled to see the Advocate Grant Program grow, and I am excited to share that this year more than 350 students joined the program,” Ajmera said. “We are thankful for the generous donations from Arconic Foundation, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and Regeneron that are supporting this critical program.”

The Advocates for the 2017-2018 year include:

  • Elkhan Akhundov, Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Elias Arellano Villanueva, IDEA North Mission, Weslaco, Texas
  • Laurel Bingman,Northbrook High School, Houston, Texas
  • Scott Bolen, Rockdale Magnet School for Science & Technology, Conyers, Georgia
  • Charmain Brammer, SUCCESS Academy DSU, St George, Utah
  • Amy Brown, Washington Middle School, Salinas, California
  • Deborah Browning, Virginia High School, Bristol, Virginia
  • Celia Castellanos, Foshay Learning Center, Los Angeles, California
  • Mitch Charkiewicz, Suffield High School, Suffield, Connecticut
  • Jennifer Claudio, Oak Grove High School, San Jose, California
  • Juliane Codd, Thomas C. Boushall Middle School, Richmond, Virginia
  • Sarah Connelly, Highland Park Senior High School, Saint Paul, Minnesota
  • ShaRetha Crawford Dansby, Huffman High School, Birmingham, Alabama
  • Deanna Cusick, North Middle School Health Sciences and Technology Campus, Aurora, Colorado
  • Amy Douglas, Captain Shreve High School, Shreveport, Louisiana
  • Conrad Faine, American Senior High School, Hialeah, Florida
  • Charlie Flint, Hawthorne Math and Science Academy, Hawthorne, California
  • Mark Friedman, Los Angeles Maritime Institute, San Pedro, California
  • Jeffery Fritz, Medical College of Wisconsin-Central Wisconsin Regional Campus, Wausau, Wisconsin
  • Vincent Joralemon, Frank McCourt High School, New York, New York
  • Shana Lee, Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi
  • Lauren Levites, Lindblom Math and Science Academy, Chicago, Illinois
  • Chantelle Lott, Oklahoma State University, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Jamie Ludwig, Rider University, Lawrence Township, New Jersey
  • Priscilla Lumbreras, Lorenzo de Zavala Middle School, La Joya, Texas
  • Noelle Martell, Morenci Middle School, Morenci, Michigan
  • Joseph Martin, Pocatello High School, Pocatello, Idaho
  • Douglas Masterson, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
  • Donna Maus, St. Mary’s-Colgan High School, Pittsburg, Kansas
  • Nathaniel Moore, South Burlington High School, South Burlington, Vermont
  • Marteen Nolan, Crocker R-2 High School, Crocker, Missouri
  • Vincent O’Leary, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Pamela Patterson-Anhalt, Shawano Community High School, Shawano, Wisconsin
  • Ashley Poloha, Pasadena Memorial High School, Pasadena, Texas
  • Elizabeth Proctor, Jasper County High School, Monticello, Georgia
  • Anne Rammelsberg, Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois
  • Lisa Ranney, Ovey Comeaux High School, Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Cheri Reznicek, Heritage High School, Maryville, Tennessee
  • Brenda Rubenstein, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
  • Tom Schmedake, University of North Carolina – Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Linda Sciaroni, Marco Antonio Firebaugh High, Lynwood, California
  • Ellen Smith Tourigny, Manchester Central High School, Manchester, New Hampshire
  • Diana Techentien, St. Pius V. Catholic School, Jacksonville, Florida
  • Laura Tenorio, Taos Middle and High Schools, Taos, New Mexico
  • Freda Vine, Ed W. Clark High School, Las Vegas, Nevada

In addition to a $3,000 stipend, Advocates receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, DC for the Advocate Training Institute where they receive additional training and support from Society staff. Throughout their term, Advocates continue to connect with one another and with Society staff through regular conference calls as well as through an online community.


About Society for Science & the Public
Society for Science & the Public is dedicated to the achievement of young scientists in independent research and to public engagement in science. Established in 1921, Society is a nonprofit whose vision is to promote the understanding and appreciation of science and the vital role it plays in human advancement. Through its world-class competitions, including the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and the Broadcom MASTERS, and its award-winning magazine, Science News and Science News for Students, Society for Science & the Public is committed to inform, educate, and inspire. Learn more at www.societyforscience.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (Society4Science).


Gayle Kansagor