Gatton Academy student recognized as national science scholar

BOWLING GREEN Ky.- A Gatton Academy for math and science student, Sydney Wheeler, was named a 2019 Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholar. She joins the ranks of trailblazers before her, who have, after earning that recognition moved on to earn Nobel prizes, National Medals of Science and MacArthur Foundation fellowships.

Wheeler competed against more than 1,900 other students nationally for one of 300 scholar spots and encourages other young women to follow her lead in studying STEM courses in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

“I’ve always just enjoyed science and thinking of big questions and why things work. when I came to Gatton, they present so many research opportunities to you, and encourage you to go out and find a faculty member who’s research interests you. When I found my research mentor Dr. Norman’s work, I just knew it was something I wanted to be involved in, and I ran with it.” Wheeler said

Wheeler is part of the next generation turning the tide from fields that have traditionally attracted more men than women. While women are earning more bachelor’s degrees than men, U.S. Department Of Education statistics show that of those earning degrees in STEM fields, 65 percent are men.

Academic opportunities coordinator Cheryl Kirby-Stokes explained how the Gatton Academy is working to change those statistics.

“One of the things that the Gatton Academy does is its population is 50 percent female and 50 percent male. That’s one of the ways that the Gatton Academy is trying to diminish that disparity between male and female in the sciences,” Kirby-Stokes said.