2017 Donaldson STEM Award Winners

Mia Jones

Mia JonesRecognized on Saturday, January 14 at African Americans in Science
Jones, currently a senior at Brooklyn Center High School, was nominated by her advisor, Mr. Joe Kane, from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education Gear Up program. Jones is described as “a mature presence” at school and as someone who staff members can count on. She isn’t afraid to be honest with her classmates. She is willing to lead other students and push them academically–especially within STEM fields–which creates a more engaging learning experience for every student. For the last three summers, Jones has participated in a month-long science research program with college professors at St. Cloud State University. She has contributed to biomedical research, high-level game design and computer coding, and she has worked with the NSA (the National Security Agency) to learn more about careers in cyber-crimes. After graduation, Jones hopes to continue her studies at St. Cloud State. She is interested in studying either biochemistry or chemistry.


Javier Enriquez

Javier EnriquezRecognized on Saturday, January 21 at ¡Amantes de la Ciencia!
Enriquez, a senior at Great River School in Saint Paul, was nominated by his teacher and guidance counselor, Ms. Teresa Hichens Olson.Enriquez is described as a student with “more integrity and maturity than [people] twice his age.” As a Teen Tech Librarian at Hosmer Library, Enriquez runs and leads science and math workshops with younger learners. He has also worked at Urban Arts Academy–a local non-profit with a focus on social justice and education–and as a Step Up Intern for the city of Minneapolis. Through his work and studies, he is known to be a person who takes challenges and turn them into opportunities. He cares about others’ learning and works for social justice in his community. He also cares deeply about his family and about the future of our planet. Enriquez is expected to graduate from Great River School at the top of his class and he plans to attend college. He hopes to major in computer science or engineering.


Jerome Henagin

Jerome HenaginRecognized on Saturday, January 28 at American Indians in Science
Henagin, a freshman at Cloquet Senior High School, was nominated by his science research teacher and mentor, Dr. Cynthia Welsh. Henagin is described as an honest, dependable, and well-respected student among his peers. Ojibwe culture is a vital part of Henagin’s life. He has been able to bridge his love for both culture and science by attending science camps that focus on Ojibwe language, global climate change, conservation, and the past, present, and future of wild rice. Henagin has demonstrated a keen interest in animal behavior, physiology, and genetics. Over the past three years, his work has been recognized by both state and national STEM events. His aptitude for science research became apparent in eighth grade when he began working on a project that focused on the respiration rate of Japanese Medaka fish. Working with a partner, he completed a poster presentation, a research paper, and a 15-minute spoken presentation. This project earned him a place at the state science fair.


Zahra Haidari

Zahra HaidariRecognized on Saturday, February 4 at Asian Americans in Science
Haidari, a sophomore at Liberty Classical Academy in White Bear Lake, was nominated by her teacher, Dr. Naomi Dillner. Haidari is described as a student that “approaches learning with a dauntless spirit.” In her first year in the U.S., Haidari entered a science fair competition with a project that focused on toothpaste and the usefulness of its ingredients. Her project not only demonstrated her aptitude for scientifically researching a specific idea, but also highlighted her strong interest in biology and chemistry. Haidari thinks about her home country often because she knows that education–STEM education, in particular–is not available to many girls in Afghanistan. She aspires to become a physician someday so that she can teach Afghan women about health and how they can take care of themselves independently. Haidari plans to enroll in college after high school, and aspires to attend medical school after college. She is looking forward to using science not only to solve problems and improve lives, but also to change the world.

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