A Mahomet-Seymour High School junior has been nominated to represent the state of Illinois at the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders next June.
Rebecca Gonzalez received her nomination letter from John C Mather, Ph.D.the winner of the Nobel Prize in physics and the science director of the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists, at the beginning of December.
“I originally just thought it was a college brochure,” Gonzalez said. “And then I opened it up, and the first thought I had was ‘Is this real?’”
Students are nominated as Delegates to represent their states by teachers, counselors and principals based on academic excellence, leadership potential and commitment to entering careers in the STEM areas of science, technology, engineering or mathematics.
“This year has been hard with grades because everything has just kind of piled on top of each other,” she said. “It’s just really nice to know that someone has seen my grades and they actually thought that I have a potential future in this.”
As Gonzalez prepares for college, she enjoys the challenging Mahomet-Seymour AP science program where she is currently learning about macromolecules and atoms. Once she gets into college she hopes to study pathology, chemistry or biochemistry.
Before accepting the nomination, Gonzalez has to set up a payment plan for the trip to Lowell, MA from June 29-July 1.
Without room and board, the trip will cost the Gonzalez family $1,100 to send Rebecca. The family is researching ways to receive financial assistance so that their daughter can make the trip.
Once there, she will be in the presence of influential scientists such as David Wineland Ph.D., the 2012 Nobel Prize Winner in Physics, Cherry A. Murray, Ph.D., the former Dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Megan J. Smith, the Chief Technology Officer of the United States 2014-2017 and Sylvester James Gates, Jr., Ph.D., the recipient of the National Medal of Science for Physical Science, among others.
Gonzalez said she is looking forward to meeting the Young Genius Speakers, who are closer to her age, most, though.