Hannah Pauley of Columbus, Neb., was stunned when she learned she would be a Marie Curie Scholar starting this fall at the College of St. Mary.
“It was a huge surprise. My family was all there, and I had no idea,” she said. She received a scholarship worth $76,000 at a special presentation at Columbus High School.
The 18-year-old daughter of Douglas and Joan Pauley plans to major in human biology with the hope of becoming a physician.
“I'm not positive (about being a doctor), but I know I want to do something in the medical field,” she said. “I love science and I love helping people.”
Pauley graduated May 12 from Columbus, where she received the Optimist Youth Appreciation Award, was Student of the Month and was a student ambassador to the Peter Kiewit Academy of Excellence.
She also lettered in swimming, golf, cross country, track and field, and music.
She will swim for the College of St. Mary team.
“I started my freshman year competing, and I just love it,” she said. Her specialties are the freestyle sprint and the 100 meter butterfly.
“I really love science in general, especially anatomy. It's probably one of my favorite classes,” Pauley said.
She also has learned a lot from her Spanish 5 class. She plans to continue studying the language in college.
At home in Columbus, she is involved with the youth group and two choirs at St. Isidore Catholic Church. With mom playing the piano during Mass, Pauley and younger siblings Nicole and Ryan sing.
Pauley has been on several mission trips with the youth group at St. Isidore.
At the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, the youths cleaned and painted and played with children. On the Winnebago Indian Reservation in Nebraska, the youth group also did cleaning and painting projects and tutored children.
Pauley is looking forward to this summer's mission trip to Newark, N.J., where the youths will work in a parish hit hard by Superstorm Sandy.
“I have really enjoyed my experiences,” she said of the mission trips.
Pauley said she thinks it will be a good thing for her to attend a Catholic school because of her strong faith and family background.
In the little spare time she has, she enjoys her friends, photography, her family and watching movies, especially comedies.
Marie Curie Scholars may receive up to $18,000 annually for four years in gift aid. Participants also have opportunities to work as science or math tutors, participate in National Institute of Health and NASA research fellowships, attend seminars and participate in science clubs.
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