Mr. Science

MHS student nominated to national science conference

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS Marshalltown High School freshman and honor student Donovan Gavagan was nominated by Nobel Prize winner Dr. John C. Mather as a delegate to the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders in Boston, Mass. this summer.

“I was very excited, it was just a random letter from Harvard.”

It’s not every day a high school freshman finds one of those in the mail. It was about month ago when Marshalltown High School’s Donovan Gavagan realized he had been nominated to the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders in Boston, Mass.

“I never had heard about it before the letter came,” the honor student said. “I’ve just always loved science, I want to do biomolecular engineering, so it would mostly be chemistry and biology.”

The honors-only student congress is made up of high schoolers who are passionate about the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and Gavagan’s academic interests seem to fit perfectly within those fields.

“He just loves learning, he loves writing,” mother Dani Gavagan said of her son. “He likes having a purpose … he likes anything that’ll make change in the world.”

Along with Gavagan’s father, James Gavagan, the family will head to Boston in late June for the congress and to take in the sights around the Boston area. Mrs. Gavagan said she and her husband will take turns watching the congress from a parent viewing room.

For his part, Gavagan said he is excited to hear many of the speakers scheduled for the group, especially Segway inventor Dean Kamen. “The part that I’m most excited about is to possibly meet the creator of Segway,” he said. ‘He was a confirmed speaker for this year.”

Though this is Gavagan’s first honor from the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists, he said it won’t be the first time he’s attended an academic event.

“I went to the Belin-Blank Summer Institute through the University of Iowa,” he said.

With high career targets in mind, Gavagan said he plans on taking classes to prepare him for a successful future in science.

“I’m taking all of the core classes and then I’m taking several of the health classes,” Gavagan said. Next year I’m taking a class that is called ‘Principals of Biomedical Sciences.'”

With the family’s trip to Boston on the horizon, Gavagan’s mother said there are fundraisers planned for the end of April to cover some of the travel expenses.

“We’re going to do a garage sale and a bake sale,” she said. “There are a lot of people donating clothes and toys and workout equipment, everything.”

More details about the fundraiser are to be released soon, she added.

The Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders is set for June 29-July 1 in Boston. For more information on the congress, go to www.scitechleaders.com