Samantha Garvey (Beverlee Barthel)

Samantha Garvey wins Hispanic Hero Award

Samantha Garvey, the former homeless high school student who defied all odds to become a semi-finalist in the Intel Science Search, is the youngest recipient of the Hispanic Hero Award. The 6th Annual Hispanic Hero Award Gala presented by U.S. Hispanic Youth Entrepreneur Education (USHYEE) took place last night in the BWI Airport Marriot in Linthicum Heights, MD.  Garvey is celebrating not only her award, because tomorrow, she will also be graduating from Brentwood High School in New York.

The Hispanic Hero Award was created by Luis Borunda, the former Maryland Deputy Secretary of State. He is now president of USHYEE, which addresses the high school to college continuum and empowers Hispanic youth.

“It’s important for our country and the Latino community to celebrate the achievement of our young people,” says Borunda. “They are our future, and it’s important to identify this nation’s future leaders. The fact that she has been able to overcome very challenging obstacles and exceed all expectations in spite of her challenges, qualifies her as a young leader. She’s an example that all of us can celebrate.”

Garvey, 18, says she is extremely honored.

Samantha Garvey wins Hispanic Hero Award samanthagarvey11 people NBC Latino News

Samantha Garvey receiving her award at the Hispanic Hero Award Gala on June 21, 2012. (Beverlee Barthel)

“When I found out I was one of the youngest recipients, I was just blown away,” she says humbly in her sweet voice.

It has been a memorable year for the young Garvey. In addition to presenting her science project on mussels to various scientists numerous times, and winning a $50,000 scholarship from AT&T, she says she is also thrilled about the summer fellowship she received from Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory.

“I’ll be doing some biological research on how nematodes survive in stressful environments,” she says.

In August, Garvey will be heading to Bowdoin College in Maine, where she plans on double majoring in oceanographic science and political science.

“I have a lot of plans,” she says. “I’ve been thinking about maybe pursuing a law degree and doing some environmental lobbying…”

She says the main thing on her mind right now is her graduation tomorrow.

“I’m kind of scared, but so excited to move on and be able to enjoy what I love,” says Garvey. “I still get to do science.”

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