Top Female Science and Math Students Honored at Judith Resnik Awards Luncheon

Seated from the left: Madelyn Brainard, Emma Stump, Julia Arbutus, Hannah Del Rosario, Isha Mehta, Samantha Bowen Standing from the left: Megan O'Neill, Taylor May, Claire Marie Grunewald, Kellie Trusty, Amelia Robinson, Mikaela Christian Boyanich
Seated from the left:
Madelyn Brainard, Emma Stump, Julia Arbutus, Hannah Del Rosario, Isha Mehta, Samantha Bowen
Standing from the left:
Megan O’Neill, Taylor May, Claire Marie Grunewald, Kellie Trusty, Amelia Robinson, Mikaela Christian Boyanich

The Harford County Branch of the American Association of University Women honored 12 young women excelling in science and mathematics at the recent Dr. Judith Resnik Awards Luncheon. Here are the details:



The Harford County Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) recently honored 12 Harford County High School junior female students for their academic achievements, notably in science and mathematics.


The awards were presented to the young women at AAUW’s annual Dr. Judith Resnik Awards Luncheon held at Harford Community College. The luncheon is a celebration of the young women’s scholastic achievements as evidenced by their high grade point averages overall and their superior knowledge of science and mathematics in particular. The honorees were also lauded for the leadership roles they have taken at their schools and for their involvement in their communities through their various extracurricular and volunteer activities.


Anne Heidenreich, local AAUW chair of the event, welcomed the audience of honorees, their family members, teachers and administrators from their respective schools and local government officials. Heidenreich gave a brief history of the awards luncheon, which originated 29 years ago when the local AAUW branch set about to honor Dr. Judith Resnik after she was killed in the Challenger explosion in 1986. Resnik was an AAUW member and received educational grants from AAUW. Competing against 999 other applicants (only six of whom were women), Resnik was chosen to become the second U.S. female astronaut (Sally Ride was the first).


Heidenreich went on to explain that each Harford County high school selects its honoree by evaluating the student’s overall grades and her academic success in science and mathematics in, as well as her undertaking of advanced placement courses, involvement in extracurricular activities, and participation in community projects. Heidenreich applauded all the honorees for their outstanding academic and civic accomplishments. Local AAUW members presented the honorees.


In attendance at the Resnik Awards Luncheon were several governmental dignitaries including Richard “Dick” Slutzky, Harford County Council President; Brett Schreiber, Director of Governmental and Communications representing County Executive Barry Glassman; and Joseph Schmitz, Executive Director of Secondary Performance in Harford County Public Schools.




The honorees are:


Madelyn Brainard from Aberdeen High School favors science and math. She plans to major in engineering in college, with a minor in dance. She currently dances with three different dance companies in Harford County. But while Madelyn loves to dance and wants to continue dancing, she will probably have a career as an engineer with dance as her hobby.


Julia Arbutus of the Aberdeen Math & Science Academy enjoys statistics and plans to major in this field and she is interested in the connection between engineering and statistics. In February she was selected to participate in UMBC’s Bits and Bytes program. If she had advice now and for future girls in science it would be that, “they shouldn’t give up on STEM programs even when they are hard.”


Samantha Bowen of Bel Air High School had a first-hand experience with physical therapists when she broke her elbow and it inspired her to pursue the bio-med program at Bel Air. Samantha’s passion for gymnastic has shifted as she has become more committed to the bio-med program. She plans to attend the University of Maryland and pursue a degree in physical therapy.


Taylor May from C. Milton Wright High School is taking courses to prepare for a career in engineering or architecture. She hopes that her future career includes product development or innovation. Taylor loved the experience of living in Turkey for two years and learning about a new culture; she hopes someday to visit all of the U.S. states and all of the world’s continents.


Hannah Del Rosario of Edgewood High School and her parents and brother immigrated to the United States from the Philippines so they could have the opportunity to work and study in the medical field. To help her prepare for her future career in the medical field, Hannah currently volunteers at Upper Chesapeake Hospital.


Megan O’Neill from Fallston High School is active in her community and church, having participated in several events related to services for the homeless and with Fallston High School’s Best Buddies program. Megan’s career aspirations are not yet fixed, but she feels she will probably focus on the area of environment/health issues.


Isha Mehta of Harford Technical High School says her parents have motivated and supported her in all that she has wanted to do and her older sister and her uncle are her mentors. Isha plans to attend either Carnegie Mellon or the University of Maryland College Park, majoring in graphic communications or graphic design and then working for Microsoft.


Emma Stump from Havre de Grace High School enjoys being a member of the Mock Trial team where she loves to debate issues of equality. She is also captain of her school’s academic team and is motivated by the love and support of her family, friends and community. Her sister Katie has been a special inspiration. Emma would like to continue her studies at Virginia Tech.


Kellie Trusty of Joppatowne High School has had an affinity for animals all her life and dreams of becoming a veterinarian. Asked what she would tell future honorees if she came back to the Resnik Awards Luncheon in five years, Kellie answered “Keep working hard. Don’t let others bring you down or tell you that you’re working too hard. Always strive for the best. Never settle for average!”


Mikaela Boyanich from North Harford High School says if she could choose any new adventure to experience, she would chose to learn to sky dive. Mikaela works with Ducks Club, a community service organization, and the Lorax Club, which is focused on the environment. She is considering a career in research chemistry or genetics.


Amelia Robinson of Patterson Mill High School is considering a career in chemical engineering. She would like to help create new medicines that not only help people but that are also more affordable. Amelia is a recipient of the Sigma Z award conferred by the magazine American Science’s foundation for youth study of math and science.


Claire Marie Grunewald from The John Carroll School is fluent in Spanish and is interested in helping people. Last summer she traveled to the Dominican Republic and helped build a house in six days. Her career goals are to be involved in medical research or bio-chemistry. Claire Marie also wants to visit different countries because she is interested in human geography.


Bernadette Flynn Low, AAUW Harford County Branch president, gave a brief summary of the origins of AAUW and then made a beautiful and inspiring “Thank You Invocation” that honored not just the awardees but all who contributed to the Resnik Awards Luncheon.


The keynote speaker for the 2015 Resnik Awards Luncheon was Christine Harvey. Harvey grew up in Edgewood. She was in the first graduating class of the Aberdeen Science & Math Academy. Her enrollment led her to an experience in her senior year that helped to shape her future. She accepted an internship at the Army Research Laboratory working with David Webb, a mathematical statistician in the weapon and materials research area. The experience encouraged her to go into the field of computational science, particularly in modeling and simulation. She also competed with WATSON, the IBM computer, but lost.


After receiving a full scholarship to Richard Stockton College in New Jersey, Harvey graduated with a bachelor of science and than a master of science in computational science. Her area of expertise is in modeling and simulation research, specifically high performance computing and is now working for The Mitre Corporation in McLean, VA. The main focus of her research is on data analysis of the national organ transplant system so that it can be more efficient. She is currently working on her Ph.D. at George Mason also.


She offered many words of advice to the honorees concluding with “Be yourself—everyone else is taken” from Oscar Wilde.


AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. Its members are graduates holding an associate, baccalaureate, or higher degree, or their equivalent, from a qualified post-secondary educational institution. For more information about the Harford County Branch of AAUW go to