Courtney Lewis

Hometown: Kennesaw, GA

high school: The Walker School

college: Harvard College

MAJOR: Neuroscience

Courtney Lewis developed her passion for learning as a result of two intellectual exposures: reading and science. She began reading lengthy chapter books as early as age five, and enjoyed how books allowed her to escape the confines of the real world to expand her knowledge in the boundless realm of literature. Born in Los Angeles, California, and raised in the geographically diverse region of southern California, Courtney developed a desire to observe and understand the mechanisms of the natural world. Her parents, who have always valued education, encouraged her to pursue her interests and nurtured her intellectual growth.

Courtney’s academic experience has been characterized by attending several schools and making frequent transitions. Despite these challenges, Courtney managed to adapt and excel in each new environment. Reflecting on her student career, Courtney appreciates the variety of classroom experiences she has been exposed to – she has learned to be resilient and resourceful, and to recognize and take advantage of new opportunities. When Courtney and her parents moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where she was admitted into a prestigious preparatory school, she was already poised to immerse herself and flourish in her new academic home.

Courtney did not hesitate to make positive waves at The Walker School. As early as ninth grade, she made history by being the first and only African American female on the robotics team, for which she now serves as President and has had the opportunity to compete in national and world tournaments. She also mentors other black females who wish to pursue STEM careers. Additionally, she has excelled in her study of the Spanish language. On the National Spanish Exam, Courtney won state and national rankings for three consecutive years. She applied her language skills to community service when she volunteered for Hands On Atlanta Discovery, an academic enrichment program for minority children. An AP Scholar with Honor, National Achievement Outstanding Participant, and member of all of her school’s academic honor societies, Courtney also participates in Science Olympiad, Academic Team, Student Leadership Council, and other activities in which she holds many leadership positions.

Courtney’s deepest passion is for scientific research. She has done research at the Clark Atlanta University Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development, where she studies gene expression in prostate cancer cell lines. She was recently selected to present her paper at the Georgia Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, and it will be published in the Journal for Emerging Investigators. She has also done research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Birth Defects Branch, where she assessed the accuracy of medical information exchanged through popular media platforms. She will be a co-author on the paper for this research, which will be published in PubMed in summer 2015.

Courtney attributes her success to the sacrifices and fortitude of her parents, her curiosity and desire to challenge herself, and her strong relationship with God. She plans to study neuroscience and become a pediatric physician with a specialty in neurology or oncology.

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