Nebraska’s 10th and 11th grade students who want to join the next generation of cancer researchers and explore careers in science can now apply for the Emperor Science Award 2018 program.
Students have until Nov. 1 to apply at Entrants will be required to complete an application and submit an essay. Winners will be announced in December.
Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a division of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, and PBS sponsor this initiative in which 100 students are given the opportunity to work with an esteemed university-level research scientist on a rewarding multi-week cancer research project. Winning students will be connected with science mentors from high-profile medical research centers, including more than 100 SU2C-affiliated institutions, universities and industry leaders in cancer diagnosis and treatment. Students will also be awarded a Google Chromebook and receive a stipend for expenses.
Past Nebraska winners were Terese Navarra of Bellevue West High School and Natalie Schieuer of Pius X High School in Lincoln.
Navarra, daughter of Mary Jo and Gerald Navarra, worked with mentor Dr. Jeffrey Gershenwald, a surgical oncology and cancer biology professor at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Schieuer, daughter of Kevin and Heidi Schieuer, worked alongside Dr. Hussein Tawbi, who is in the Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
“I was really fortunate that I was able to go down to Houston for a week. It was so cool,” Schieuer said. “I was able to work under Tawbi and his coworkers, follow them on clinical and in-patient rounds in the hospital and get a glimpse of what a day was like.”
She added Tawbi became a role model for her, and that the life-changing opportunity “opened her eyes” to many possibilities for specialties she could pursue as a physician.
“This is a great opportunity,” she said.
Navarra wanted to research how natural health could be used to stop cancer. Shortly after she received the award, her aunt got colon cancer.
“She decided she wanted to take the natural route as opposed to chemotherapy, and she offered to be my case study,” Navarra said.
Working with her aunt through diet, her case study showed that there are alternative treatments which contribute to the reversal of metastasis.
They specifically revamped her diet for three months to include fresh vegetables, fruits and other cancer-fighting foods with remarkable results.
“My mentor helped me see how important research is, and how many people can be affected by even a small break through,” Navarra said.
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The Emperor Science Award program was first announced in spring 2015 by SU2C co-founder Katie Couric at Columbia University in connection with “Ken Burns Presents: Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, A Film by Bark Goodman,” a three-part film on the history of cancer that aired on PBS in the spring of 2015.

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