Pinnacle Scholarship Winners 2016

Athena Pinnacle Scholarships Awarded to Extraordinary High School Women at the 2016 Pinnacle Gala

The winners for the 2016 Athena Pinnacle Scholarships were announced at the prestigious Pinnacle Awards Gala on April 28 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Each year at Athena’s Pinnacle Gala, five extraordinary high school senior women are awarded scholarships to help them pursue a career in math, science and engineering. Athena has granted 86 scholarships have been awarded over 17 years through Athena’s scholarship fund.

Meet our 2016 Pinnacle Scholarship Winners

2016 Pinnacle Scholarship WinnerAnoushka Bose
Francis Parker High School

As she looks up at the sky each night, Anoushka Bose dreams of inventions and innovations, and then she gets up in the morning and makes things happen. One of her teachers states that by the time she graduates, she will have completely exhausted the curriculum in English, math, science, history and foreign language. Anoushka designed and manufactured a new omnidirectional wind anemometer and then redesigned it after seeing it was not as efficient as leading wind turbines because of low torque. She modified the system to serve as an omnidirectional sensor for wind speed direction and presented her research on this design at a sensors conference in New Zealand. After working at the Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton on gamma-ray cosmology to develop mathematical models of the extragalactic background radiation, she published her work at the 227thMeeting of the American Astronomical Society. Outside of her research endeavors, Anoushka competes in numerous science competitions. She wants to double major in astrophysics and computer science and become a leader in her community working to inspire and encourage the next generation. MIT, Columbia and Princeton are in her sights.

Amy Eppert Athena Pinnacle Scholarship WinnerAmy Eppert
Hilltop High School

Amy Eppert has wanted to be a research scientist in biology since she was a small child collecting insets in baby food jars and spending her free time in preschool in the “science room.” Her school activities have included vice president of the Robotics Club to student leader of the Imperial Beach Reef Project. She also co-created and co-taught a STEM course for incoming freshman, and created and taught an after school program called “Math Buddies” for elementary school students. Amy’s math teacher shared, “Amy has a keen intelligence and is number one in her class. She was a lead in the school play, a member of the Academic Decathlon and attended Girls State. She plays the Celtic harp for hospice care, autistic and Down syndrome children, and Alzheimer’s patients. Amy plans to major in biology and minor in computational science and Point Loma Nazarene College and continue on to earn a PhD from UCSD. Amy plans to major in biology and minor in computational science and Point Loma Nazarene College and continue on to earn a PhD from UCSD.

2016 Athena Pinnacle Scholarship WinnerPhoebe Kimm
Carlsbad High School

Four years ago, CBS News interviewed Phoebe for a story on women in science because of her involvement in the science program, “Tech Trek.” She acknowledged the challenges girls face in STEM and shared that those obstacles only strengthen her resolve to succeed. Her interest in coding began with an article advertising the Global Technovation Entrepreneurship Challenge, a worldwide app-building competition for women. She assembled a team, acquired a mentor from ViaSat and designed an app. While she didn’t win, she was introduced to the Women’s Hackathon. There, she developed an app promoting water conservation and monitoring water usage.  She and her team won for Originality and Most Impact. Phoebe looks forward to making an impact in the world. Her math teacher states “What I find rather unique about Phoebe compared to her peers is that she seems to participate in activities where she has a true interest rather than participating in order to ‘pad’ her college applications.” Phoebe will attend Stanford University in the fall.

2016 Pinnacle Scholarship WinnerFrancisca Vasconcelos
Torrey Pines High School

Math, science and art have been Francisca Vasconcelos’ favorite subjects. She fell in love with coding during her sophomore year. While learning circuitry and hardware in physics, Francisca began working on various electrical engineering and computer science projects, which cumulated into her science fair drone research project in which she programmed an AR Parrot Drone 2.1 to follow her autonomously by computer vision recognition of a patterned badge she wore. She won five corporate awards and Sweepstakes at the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair. This qualified her to compete in the 2015 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair where she presented her work to CMU professors and NASA engineers. She won fourth place “Robotics and Intelligent Machines” Grand Award, United Technologies Special Award, and CERN Special Award. She will present her paper on his work at the 2016 IEEE Winter Applications of Computer Vision Conference in Lake Placid New York. Francisca states that her family lives in an apartment, so she will not be able to take a loan on a house like many of her classmates. She is grateful to receive this scholarship so she can attend MIT – her dream school!

2016 Pinnacle Scholarship WinnerJulie Vaughn
Canyon Crest Academy

Julie Vaughn has a passion for science. Her career goal is to research and develop medical devices that will improve lives. Julie was named an Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalist and was also selected to present a poster at the Biomedical Engineering Sciences 2015 conference for her research on the production of inexpensive, paper-based microfluidic devices for health diagnostics. She created paper sensors that change color in response to the concentration of a biomarker (such as glucose), and can then be photographed by a mobile device and analyzed offsite. Julie’s chemistry teacher said of her, “Julie took over the school’s ignite science outreach program and led the growth of the club to the success that it is today. Even more impressive than her academic ability was the way she was able to lead, organize and delegate tasks to achieve a goal. She has led a group of 20 high school students that visit four to five elementary schools teaching science concepts to third through fifth grade students.” Julie is looking to attend Johns Hopkins, MIT or Yale.

About Athena Pinnacle Awards

Athena instituted the annual Pinnacle Awards to recognize leaders who champion women in STEM fields and to champion the next generation of female STEM leaders with our annual award of 5  Athena Pinnacle Scholarships.  

About Athena San Diego Foundation

Athena San Diego Foundation is a 501(c)3 established to support and oversee the Pinnacle Scholarship Fund. It is represented by an active Board of Directors committed to nurturing and supporting the next generation of women leaders in science, math and technology.

Thanks to our Sponsors

The 18th Annual Pinnacle Awards were made possible through the support of: Sony (Title Sponsor), Alexandria Real Estate Equities (VIP reception Sponsor), Barney & Barney, Morrison & Foerster, Qualcomm, Sheppard Mullin (Gold Sponsors), and Becton Dickinson, CBIZ, DLA Piper, Ernst & Young, Mintz Levin and RGP (Silver Sponsors).

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