Stephanie Nicholson, 2009 Young Woman of Achievement
Stephanie Nicholson combines high achievement in academics — especially science — with a passion for community service.
Stephanie, a senior at Camas High School, serves as the Pacific Northwest District Governor for Key Club, a community service organization for high school students.
As governor, she oversees 300 clubs and every aspect of operations for the district. She was a lead organizer for the annual District Convention and planned a special Governor’s Project for the clubs, “Read to Succeed.” Suzanne Endroedy, the assistant district administrator for Key Club, wrote that Stephanie is “one of the most outstanding Key Club members I have ever had the pleasure with which to work.”
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This past summer, Stephanie served as a camp counselor at the Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp for adults and children with disabilities. She was the first high school student to do this—counselors are generally college students. “I’ll never forget the campers I met or the lessons they taught me,” says Stephanie.
Stephanie also volunteers at the Southwest Washington Medical Center, where she has contributed over 350 service hours. She says that she enjoys meeting patients’ families while volunteering at the Gift Shop, where she can support them during a difficult time.
In the summer of 2007, Stephanie had the honor of being chosen as an intern at the Reed College Nuclear Reactor. She learned about how the reactor works and conducted independent research on soil samples.
Stephanie has loved science since she was four years old and first watched a caterpillar transform into a moth. She takes Advanced Placement level classes in for all of her science subjects. Her senior-year culminating project is to write a curriculum for AP Environmental Science, which is not currently available at her school.
Stephanie succeeds in non-science courses as well. Her AP Government teacher, Kristi Bridges, wrote that she is “in the top 1% of students I have encountered…She is the type of person who makes the people and places she interacts with a little better for her having been there.”
Other activities that Stephanie is involved in include Science Olympiad, where she has served as her team’s vice president and later, president. The team ranked first in the region during her year as president. She founded a Friends of Rachel Club at her school, named in honor of a student killed at Columbine High School, which works to spread kindness, compassion, and inclusiveness. Stephanie also serves as the secretary of the Camas Youth Advisory Council, a liaison between students and local government.
Stephanie plans to continue her scientific education and community service at a university. She has been accepted to Stanford University in California. As Suzanne Endroedy from Key Club wrote, “I know she has exceptional accomplishments ahead in her future.”