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2021 Women in STEM Scholarship Spotlight: Lillian H.

Avomeen is committed to supporting and helping to inspire the next generation of scientists and leaders in STEM. We’re privileged to have the opportunity to help ease some of the financial stress that comes with higher education. Our Women in STEM and Minorities in STEM Scholarship Program allows us to support undergraduates who are on their way to doing incredible things in STEM fields of study. In 2021, we were able to expand the annual scholarship program to offer additional scholarships to 2 amazing students, one who applied for Avomeen’s Women in STEM scholarship, and another who applied for Avomeen’s Minorities in STEM scholarship.  Today, we’re getting to know Lillian H., one of the the recipients of Avomeen’s 2021 Women in STEM Scholarship.

You’re planning to study chemistry and take advantage of research opportunities and are interested in researching childhood cancer treatment; did you consider any other professions or fields of study?

For the first half of high school I wanted to pursue a career in music therapy. Music has been a major aspect of my life for as long as I can remember. Ever since I was 5 years old I have played the violin and I was involved in church choirs before then. Throughout cancer treatments music therapy sessions were an important part of my days. Once I started thinking about what I wanted to do in life I knew that I wanted to impact children with cancer in some way, which is why I originally thought about a career in music therapy to help kids in the hospital.

Who and/or what has influenced your career path?

There are several things that have influenced my career path. The first thing, which is what made me decide I wanted to pursue chemistry instead of music therapy, was my IB chemistry experiment that I completed in 11th grade. When I did this experiment I realized that I really enjoyed the experimentation and problem solving that came with chemistry. The second thing that has influenced my career path was my diagnosis of childhood cancer. I feel that I would not want to research cancer treatments if it were not for my diagnosis of childhood leukemia. Over the past several years I decided to have a positive impact on the lives of children with cancer through my future career.

We understand that your Girl Scout Silver Award project helped to support the Ronald McDonald House. Can you tell us more about that project?

I completed my Girl Scout Silver Award in the summer of 2017. I worked with another girl in my troop to start a sustainable pop tab drive at our church to benefit the Ronald McDonald House. Today this drive is still collecting pop tabs and has collected over 200 pounds of soda pop tabs to date. Every Ronald McDonald House takes pop tab donations, but the way they use the funds are different. The Ronald McDonald House in [our area] uses the funds they get from collecting pop tabs to help pay their electricity bill, tens of thousands of dollars per year. What inspired this project was the impact that the Ronald McDonald House has had in my life. My family and I stayed in the Ronald McDonald House in [our area] for nearly six months during my stem cell transplant and treatments, and I wanted to give back to them.

What are your plans after you graduate?

I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia when I was twelve years old, and cancer research and medicine provided the chemotherapy to keep me alive. I want to become a researcher and help others live through cancer. After high school I am attending [one of the country’s top honors colleges] as a member of their Honors College. I have declared chemistry as my major, and I plan to take advantage of research opportunities in college and graduate school as well. I want to research childhood cancer treatments so that children with cancer will have better treatments, fewer long-term side effects, and greater chances of survival.

Science is fun! We’re big fans of science and STEM jokes. Do you have a favorite joke you’d like to share?

I was on the Battle of the Books Team all throughout high school, and I helped my team win first place in the county and the region (that part’s true). We had to read a book on anti-gravity one year…I couldn’t put it down!


Lillian is in good company! Get to know the other 2021 STEM scholarship recipients:

Shagun S., Minorities in STEM

Adi O., Women in STEM

Ashlyn E., Minorities in STEM