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Scholarship a 'Bridge to the Future' for High School Senior

A senior at West Seattle High School will become the first member of her family to head to college, thanks in part to a scholarship from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Cassia Nichol Cearley, who plans to major in biology at Washington State University, received the $3,000 PEMCO Foundation Scholarship during a reception and award ceremony last night at the Hutchinson Center's campus on South Lake Union.

"For as long as I can remember, it has been my dream to go to college," she wrote in her scholarship application. "Going to college gives me the opportunity to set a good example for my younger sisters. " You don't have to be as smart as Albert Einstein or as rich as Bill Gates to go to college. You just have to have the drive to achieve. Being college-bound requires a lot of effort, and I will be the first to show them that all the effort pays off."

Cearley's scholarship was made possible by an honor bestowed earlier this year upon the Center's Science Education Partnership, a mentorship program for secondary-school science teachers throughout the state. In January, the program received the 1998 Golden Apple Award for educational excellence sponsored by public television stations KCTS and KYVE, and PEMCO Financial Services. The award included a $3,000 scholarship, to be given to a local high-school student of the winner's choice.

"We selected Cassia for the scholarship because of her excellent academic credentials and the fact that she is quite well-rounded -- senior class president, band member. She shows a lot of ambition," says Dr. Barbara Berg, the Science Education Partnership's program manager.

Cearley was among 19 Seattle high school girls honored Tuesday evening at the Hutch for completing the Bridge to the Future Certificate in Science Program, a nine-month mentorship program sponsored by the Seattle chapter of the Association for Women in Science. The program featured a presentation by Hutch bone-marrow transplant researcher Dr. Beverly Torok-Storb, who delivered a talk entitled "From Bench to Bedside: How Research Makes a Difference."

The goal of the Bridge Program is to build an awareness and interest in science and science careers among high school girls. Activities range from job shadowing with women scientists to science-career panels and volunteer community service.

The Hutchinson Center supports the Bridge Program by donating space for its monthly meetings and science equipment for hands-on activities, from DNA sequencing to genetic "fingerprinting."

"We've been very fortunate to use the resources of the Hutch," says Bridge Program co-coordinator Dr. Laura Streichert, who recently joined the Hutch as program manager of HutchLab, a program for high school students that will begin this summer at the Center.

"It's very valuable for students to have the chance to work at a world-renowned research institution like the Hutch," she says.

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Media please note:

  • The Bridge to the Future Certificate in Science award ceremony will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 18, in the Hutchinson Center's Thomas Clinical Research Building, 1100 Fairview Ave. N. (in the Sze conference rooms off the main entrance.) Members of the media are welcome to attend.
  • Cassia Cearley will not learn of her scholarship until the awards ceremony on Tuesday evening, so please don't attempt to contact her or her family until after the event.
  • To arrange an interview with any of the Bridge Program students or with leaders of the Science Education Partnership or Bridge Program, please contact Kristen Woodward, (206) 667-5095

1998-1999 Bridge to the Future Certificate in Science Program Graduates

Ballard High

Tegan Callahan, 11th grade

Emma Edwards, 11th grade

Helen Wu, 11th grade

Chief Sealth High

Chantha Ny, 11th grade

Sophea Ny, 11th grade

Cleveland High

Suzanne Asuncion, 10th grade

Jennifer Fung, 10th grade

Roann Lubang, 10th grade

Franklin High

Nicole Little, 12th grade

Phung Luong, 11th grade

Garfield High

Jaime Biava, 10th grade

Ingraham High

Amanda Pease, 10th grade

Nathan Hale High

Angela Alfonso, 12th grade

Lai Shan Wong, 11th grade

Rainier Beach High

Robyn Johnson, 12th grade

Roosevelt High

Zeba Ahmad, 11th grade

Anita Ha, 12th grade

Samoeun San, 11th grade

West Seattle High

Cassia Cearley, 12th grade

Kristen Woodward

Until 9 p.m. May 18, 1999

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