Society for Science Names 60 Advocates to Mentor Underserved Students and Help Them Navigate Science Research Competitions

WASHINGTON, DC (April 25, 2019) The Society for Science & the Public is pleased to announce this year’s 60 Advocates who will mentor underrepresented and low income students and guide them in entering science research competitions.  Now in its fifth year, the program continues to grow and reach more students.  In 2018, the Society named 50 Advocates.

Through the Advocate Grant Program, educators and scientists expand opportunities for underserved students who have the potential, yet lack the necessary resources, to succeed in STEM fields. Each Advocate will mentor a cohort of three or more students, providing support as they complete science research projects and apply to compete in science research competitions.

“It’s imperative that we make STEM education opportunities accessible to all students,” said Maya Ajmera, President and CEO of the Society for Science & the Public and Publisher of Science News. “By nurturing young, talented minds, the Society’s Advocate Program is bolstering a pipeline of future scientific and engineering leaders.”

Students who participate in science research competitions not only gain confidence, but also acquire important problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration and effective communication skills.

To date, more than 1,500 students who have participated in the Advocate Grant Program competed in nearly 2,400 science research competitions.  Additionally, since the program’s launch in 2015, more than 2,000 students have worked with the Society’s Advocates. Ninety percent of those students are low income and 70 percent are an underrepresented group.

This year’s Advocates come from 33 states and Washington, D.C. and include 12 middle school teachers; 13 teachers who work with both middle and high school students, 30 high school teachers and 11 who are affiliated with universities.  Of the 60 who were selected, 23 are being named for a second or third year as an Advocates.

The following are 2019-2020 Lead Advocates, who will oversee groups of Advocates:

  1. Charmain Brammer, SUCCESS Academy DSU (St. George, UT)
  2. Jennifer Claudio, Oak Grove High School (San Jose, CA)
  3. Andrea Cobb, George Mason University (Manassas, VA)
  4. Cynthia Hopkins, Kaffie Middle School (Corpus Christi, TX)
  5. Vincent Joralemon, Frank McCourt High School (New York, NY)
  6. Deborah Morgan, South Sevier High (Monroe, UT)
  7. Lorraine O’Shea, Grand Forks Public Schools (Grand Forks, ND)
  8. Heather Overkamp, Portsmouth Public Schools (Portsmouth, VA)

The following are 2019-2020 Advocates:

  1. Melba Acantilado, Bernalillo High School (Rio Rancho, NM)
  2. Eulette Arrington-Harris , Bradwell School of Excellence (Chicago, IL)
  3. McKenzie Baecker, Two Rivers Public Charter School (Washington, D.C.)
  4. Janice Barton, Wareham Middle School (Wareham, MA)
  5. ScottiAnn Benton, Jasper County Middle School (Monticello, GA)
  6. Cheyenne Branscum, Shawnee Middle School (Shawnee, OK)
  7. Celia Castellanos, Foshay Learning Center (Los Angeles, CA)
  8. Linda Chisholm, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi (Corpus Christi, TX)
  9. Philip Clarke, Centennial High School (Gresham, OR)
  10. Alan Daugherty, Melrose Municipal Schools (Melrose, NM)
  11. Jennifer Donnelly, Union City High School (Scotch Plains, NJ)
  12. Robin Driver, Eisenhower High School (Yakima, WA)
  13. Samuel Ebong, Southside ISD (San Antonio, TX)
  14. Creighton Edington, Media Arts Collaborative Charter School (Albuquerque, NM)
  15. Conrad Faine, American Senior High School (Hialeah, FL)
  16. Frederick Feraco, Walt Whitman High School (Huntington Station, NY)
  17. Gennifer Goode , Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)
  18. Albert Harrold, Strength and Honor Mentoring and Tutoring (Ferguson, MO)
  19. Loree Harvey, Monte Vista High School (Monte Vista, CO)
  20. Laura Hassan, CCA Baldi Middle School (Philadelphia, PA)
  21. Meghan Hess Shamdasani, SouthTech Academy (Boynton Beach, FL)
  22. Madison Hope, Del Valle High School (Del Valle, TX)
  23. Katye Howell, Travis High School/High School Research Initiative (Austin, TX)
  24. Patricia Huntington, Farb Middle School (San Diego, CA)
  25. Reshawndra Hutchins-Trapp, Elite Scholars Academy (Jonesboro, GA)
  26. Merridith Joly, Washington Technology Magnet School (St. Paul, MN)
  27. Jeremy Jonas, Tucson High Magnet School (Tucson, AZ)
  28. Kehkashan Khan, CCA Academy (Chicago, IL)
  29. Patrycja Krakowiak, Arkansas School for Math, Sciences, and the Arts (Hot Springs, AR)
  30. Richard Lapworth, Felix Varela High School (Miami, FL)
  31. Shana Lee, Mississippi State University (Mississippi State, MS)
  32. Mindy Levine, University of Rhode Island (Kingston, RI)
  33. David Lockett, Bok Academy (Lake Wales, FL)
  34. Samuel Loftus, New Orleans Charter Science & Math High School (New Orleans, LA)
  35. Brian Matherne, Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, LA)
  36. Reny Mathew, Greyhills Academy High School (Tuba City, AZ)
  37. Daniel Matthews, Kauai High School (Lihue, HI)
  38. Pumtiwitt McCarthy, Morgan State University (Baltimore, MD)
  39. Keri Meador, Central High School (Louisville, KY)
  40. Jennifer Nilvo, School of Dreams Academy (Los Lunas, NM)
  41. Rajendram Rajnarayanan, New York Institute of Technology (Jonesboro, AR)
  42. Christopher Reeves, Camdenton High School (Camdenton, MO)
  43. Jeanne Richardson, Graham Junior High School  (Graham, TX)
  44. Kimberly Ring, Eureka Jr/Sr High School (Eureka, KS)
  45. Devon Riter, Lower Brule Research Institute (Lower Brule, SD)
  46. Brenda Rubenstein, Brown University (Providence, RI)
  47. Rachel Sanders, Global Impact STEM Academy (Springfield, OH)
  48. Brandy Todd, University of Oregon (Eugene, OR)
  49. Kyra Walker, TC Williams High School (Alexandria, VA)
  50. Carolyn Walling, Iowa City West High School (Iowa City, IA)
  51. Melissa Warrender, Albany Medical College (Albany, NY)
  52. Robin Wilson, Emmett High School (Emmett, ID)

The Advocate Grant Program is funded by Arconic Foundation, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and Regeneron. In addition to a $3,000 stipend, Advocates also receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, DC for the Advocate Training Institute where they learn best practices, connect with each other, and obtain training from Society staff. Continued support via in-person meetings and conference calls are available to all Advocates throughout their one-year term.

The eight Lead Advocates will receive an additional $2,000 to supervise cohorts of newer Advocates. These cohorts typically include six to eight Advocates and are designed to provide specialized support throughout the year to Advocates with similar needs and goals.

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, the 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 and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Snapchat (Society4Science).


Gayle Kansagor