Austin student wins Emperor Science Award

Emperor science award

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KLRU is thrilled to announce that Mathilda Nicot-Cartsonis, a LASA High School (Austin ISD) junior, has been named a winner of the national Emperor Science Award, a joint initiative by Stand Up to Cancer and PBS LearningMedia.

In addition to receiving a cash award and a Dell Chromebook, Nicot-Cartsonis will be working this summer with Dr. Jenny Chang, Director of the Methodist Hospital Cancer Center in Houston, TX.  Chang’s primary work investigates how to target then eradicate chemotherapy-resistant, tumor-initiating cells.

Nicot-Cartsonis, a self-professed fanatic of viruses since the age of 11, has an additional motivation for this quest. Her longtime ballet instructor and mentor, Alexandra Nadal, a co-founder of the Slavin Nadal School of Ballet and 2009 inductee into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame, died in 2015 of a type of cancer being researched by Dr. Chang. Nicot-Cartsonis plans to keep her dual scientist/dancer roles in her university studies.

The Emperor Science Award contest received almost 1,200 applications from 10th and 11th grade students from 40 states. Nicot-Cartsonis is one of 100 inaugural winners.

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Update: Mathilda’s socks

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American Graduate Champion: Sarah Shaney

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

2015_sarah_shaney_photo1Today’s Champion is Sarah Shaney! Sarah works as a CIS Program Manager at Eastside Memorial High School. Her nomination letter from the community said, “Sarah is an American Graduate Champion because she does whatever it takes to help her students, from providing basic needs assistance and individual and group sessions, to success coaching to help her students stay on track with their academic goals. Sarah’s work demonstrates that meeting students where they are, taking the time to listen and understand, and tailoring the support offered to the unique circumstances of the student really can keep students from dropping out, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.”

The Communities In Schools program at Eastside Memorial is managed by Sarah and serves 115 students. During her first year at Eastside Memorial, Sarah implemented a success coaching program at Eastside. Eighty students on Sarah’s 2014-15 caseload received success coaching three times during the school year. Volunteers met individually with students under Sarah’s direction, working with students to talk about GPAs, grades, college and career plans, and to check on progress toward meeting their goals. Sarah helps to provide students on campus with new ways to cope with stress including round-table discussion groups and a peer-to-peer mental health educator program. Sarah believes in advocating for her students both on campus and in the community. During the Texas Legislative Session earlier this year, Sarah and a group of CIS students visited the capital to talk directly to representatives about the realities of student life and the importance of CIS services. It was a great opportunity for students to be part of the conversation and Sarah really shined talking passionately about her students and her work. At a campus visit to Eastside in the spring of 2015, one of the students Sarah works with told CIS that he was planning to drop out of school because he struggled to juggle two jobs and school but that Sarah had helped him rearrange his schedule and set goals so he could stay enrolled. He said that thanks to Sarah, he would not only graduate from high school but that he also planned to apply to college next year.

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

American Graduate Champion: Mandy Stalcup

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

mandy_stalcup_crockett_hsToday’s Champion is Mandy Stalcup!  As a Communities In Schools Program Manager at Crockett High School, Stalcup provides a range of programming to support students on the campus including working with students individually, in groups, college & career exploration, with basic needs and more. Her nomination letter said, “The time Mandy spends helping her students stay focused on grades and attendance and with college and scholarship applications makes a huge difference in keeping them motivated and on track. Students are empowered when they are given support and encouragement from a caring adult.”

One example provided of how Mandy’s work empowers students to stay in school and achieve in life is how she helped a student named Keyanna. Keyanna graduated from Crockett High School in June 2015 and she credits Mandy with helping her stay focused on keeping her grades up and also with providing assistance as she navigated scholarship and financial aid applications. All the effort Keyanna and Mandy put in paid off. Keyanna graduated with a 3.6 GPA, she was accepted to five universities, and she received several scholarships. “I don’t know where I’d be today without Mandy,” she said. Despite living all the way across town for long periods during high school, Keyanna was never late and didn’t let the obstacles she faced keep her from succeeding in school. Mandy helped her get bus passes and provided ongoing support and encouragement, reminding Keyanna of her goals and what she needed to do to stay on track. This fall, Keyanna started her college career at the University of Texas and she will be the first in her family to attend a four-year university. Mandy has kept in touch with Keyanna since graduation and continues to cheer her on.

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

American Graduate Champion: Julie McCann

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LRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

Today’s Champion is Julie McCann! Julie McCann is a special education teacher in Buda, Texas. She is passionate about her work and devoted to her students. “Her dedication towards providing an education to students whom may require extra attention and care not only demonstrates the kindness of her heart, but also portrays the champion within her,” her nomination form said. “It is truly inspiring being able to witness the work Mrs. McCann does with the special education department. Her personal connection with each student is undeniable.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

American Graduate Champion: Adrian Plaster

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LRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

Today’s Champion is Adrian Plaster! Adrian Plaster is a teacher at Jack C. Hays High School in Buda, Texas. She teaches French and sponsors the school French club. She looks out for her students and gives them moral support. She encourages her students to try their best. “She has always been there for me and has given me advice when I most needed it. Even when I struggled in her class and it took me long hours to understand, she stood by my side and didn’t give up on me,” her nomination form said. “Learning is never easy, especially when it’s something new. Though be it as it may, there are those who still support you and don’t leave you side.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

American Graduate Champion: David Bowe

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LRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

Today’s Champion is David Bowe! David Bowe is a teacher at Jack C. Hays High School in Kyle, Texas. He teaches social studies, and always makes his students a top priority. He wants to help his students any way he can. His story shows “there ARE teachers out there who DO care about them, with no real reason to. They simply care because that’s the kind of person they are,” the nomination form said. “Mr. Bowe, since the beginning of the school year, has proven that he sincerely cares for his students. He’s teaching to help them achieve something in life, to help them move forward with it and to teach them how to do so.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

American Graduate Champion: Melinda Earp

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LRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

Today’s Champion is Melinda Earp! Melinda Earp is a teacher at Jack C. Hays High School in Buda, Texas. She teaches English. “Mrs. Earp is a champion because she gave me the greatest sophomore English 2 year I could ever ask for. She is a great person,” her nomination form said. “I would think that others would want to take her class because she is a very good benefit.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

American Graduate Champion: Tracy Harris

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LRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

Today’s Champion is Tracy Harris! Tracy Harris is a teacher in Buda, Texas. She teaches first grade students. “When I finished first grade I was far behind the other kids and barely knew how to read and she would pick me up from daycare during the summer and teach me free of charge,” her nomination form said. Her story teaches people “to be nice out of the kindness in their hearts and not expect anything in return,” the form continued.

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

American Graduate Champion: Brandi Brownlow

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LRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

Today’s Champion is Brandi Brownlow! Brandi Brownlow is a teacher at Jack C. Hays High School in Buda, Texas. She teaches World Geography, but also teaches her students leadership strategies and urges them to do their best. “She has been a mentor to me and has taught me to be the best I can be. Going through her class her leadership has taught me much today as a leader now I can look at the strategies she used,” her nomination form said.

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

American Graduate Champion: Deborah Moore

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LRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

Today’s Champion is Deborah Moore! Deborah Moore is a mom, teacher, behavior specialist, 4-H leader and communitry activist in Kyle, Texas. She juggles dedicating her time to school, family, community activities and work. “Not only does she deal with a lot at school with her students and handle it well, she also has to come home and deal with my brother and [me] the rest of the time, so she never gets a break but she handles it like a champion,” her nomination form said. “People who are going through a rough time and don’t think they can get through it they would have this story to look at and know that they could do it.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.