Godwin student receives $10,000 scholarship for science essay

Around this time of year, many seniors are looking for scholarship opportunities and other ways to receive money for college. Recently, senior Alysse Stephens was awarded the STEM Essay Scholarship for writing an essay about immortality.

The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Essay Scholarship is given every year by the Council on Women, which is part of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

The chance to win a scholarship is available to all women who live in Virginia. Along with Stephens, five other women received a scholarship. All scholarship prize money is donated by various sponsors who support the Council on Women.

Once the scholarship is awarded, the winner can use it how they please.  Stephens plans on using her earnings to pay for school.

Stephens received a scholarship of $10,000 for her essay in the field of biology. Much like the college essays she submitted, she wrote about immortality, a topic she is very interested in.

“Immortality fascinates me and it is something I plan on studying in college,” said Stephens.

When Stephens was taking biology in ninth grade, she read an article on the enzyme telomerase and how it could be manipulated to last longer.

Inspired by her father who writes science fiction, Stephens wants to use the enzyme to find a way to make humans immortal.

After she graduates from Godwin, Stephens will attend George Mason University (GMU) and wants to study immortality as she double majors in biology and French.

Stephens submitted her essay in January, and the winners were announced in April.

“I was so surprised to hear that I had actually won. I never thought I would have won, but then I got the letter telling me that I did,” Stephens said.

Soon after accepting her prize, Stephens was invited to the Governor’s Mansion along with the four other winners for a dinner party to celebrate the women’s achievements.

“The other four girls that won the scholarship were very intelligent, and I’m very proud they picked me to be with them,” said Stephens.

When Stephens first arrived at the Governor’s Mansion to receive her award, she was given a tour of the house and the grounds.

Then, they returned inside for a few appetizers and tea. Before the awards were given out, the winners had the opportunity to meet the governor.

After Stephens and the other winners received their awards, they got to meet other influential women from the Commonwealth.

“I got to meet Governor Northam and his wife and many other significant people like scientists from NASA,” said Stephens.

Meeting several scientists and doctors has created many opportunities for Stephens. For example, she was given the opportunity to interview for an internship at an Alzheimer’s Clinic this summer.

Following the awards reception, the winners were given a tour of the Virginia House of Delegates where once again they were recognized.

Winning this scholarship does not only open up many doors, but it also is an accolade to add to a resume when applying for jobs or more scholarships in the future.

“I’m excited to interview for the internship and attend GMU next year to continue researching trans-humanism and the study of aging,” said Stephens.

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