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2 Gatton Academy students named Emperor Science Award winners

Two Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky students have been named winners of the inaugural Emperor Science Award.

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 mentoring opportunity. The program is made possible by founding donors Genetech, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Novartis and through partners Stand Up to Cancer and PBS Learning Media.

Makenzie Daniels and Haley Dicken, both first-year students at The Gatton Academy, will work alongside cancer scientists on a rewarding, multi-week cancer research project. Additionally, Daniels and Dicken will receive a Google Chrome Notebook to enhance their studies, a $1,500 stipend for their expenses, and the opportunity to continue the mentoring program throughout high school.

Stand Up To Cancer and PBS Learning Media received around 1,200 applications from 10th and 11th grade students throughout the U.S. interested in pursuing a career in science research. In total, 100 students from 40 states have been named this year’s winners. The Gatton Academy students are Kentucky’s only award winners.

Makenzie Daniels

Makenzie Daniels

Makenzie Daniels

Daniels, a first-year student from Smiths Grove (Edmonson County High School), will be working with Dr. Shannon L. Puhalla, Director, Breast Cancer Clinical Research Program and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine.  Dr. Puhalla is a medical oncologist and hematologist who specializes in breast oncology, Phase I clinical trials, and novel therapeutics in breast cancer.

Daniels will be paired with Dr. Puhalla for an 8-to-12-week research experience that will commence during 2016.

Daniels is a student researcher in the WKU Department of Biology’s Genome Discovery and Exploration Program, a yearlong research cohort led by Dr. Rodney King and Dr. Claire Rinehart. The WKU Genome Discovery and Exploration Program is part of the National Genomics Research initiative sponsored by the Science Education Alliance at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Additionally, Daniels has just returned from a Winter Term study abroad to Italy. She plans to study abroad in England later this summer.

Haley Dicken

Haley Dicken

Haley Dicken

Dicken, a first-year student from Jamestown (Russell County High School), will be working with Dr. Natasha Kyprianou, the James F. Hardymon Chair in Urologic Research at the University of Kentucky Medical Center and a Professor at the University of Kentucky’s Markey Cancer Center. Dr. Kyprianou specializes in urologic oncology.

Dicken will pair with Dr. Kyprianou in 2016 for an 8-to-12-week research experience.

Dicken has just returned from a Winter Term study abroad to Italy. She also plans to study abroad in England later this summer.

About The Gatton Academy: Established in 2007, The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first residential high school for gifted and talented junior and seniors. The Gatton Academy’s students enroll as juniors and are full-time WKU students pursuing their interests in advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematical careers. The Gatton Academy was named the number one public high school in the United States by The Daily Beast for three consecutive years – 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Contact: Zack Ryle, (270) 745-2971.

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