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Four high school seniors have been selected by the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) to receive the 2016 ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Math and Science Scholarship.

They were chosen from several hundred applicants across the nation for their academic performance, leadership qualities, and community involvement.

Each scholar will receive $5,000 for continued education in an STEM-related field.

This year’s award winners are:

Michael Benben, Western High School, Broward County (FL) Public Schools
Francesca Rafaella Dupuy, Cooper City High School, Broward County (FL) Public Schools
Eillen Daniela Martinez, Timber Creek High School, Orange County (FL) Public Schools
Dalan Omar Smallwood, Strawberry Crest High School, Hillsborough County (FL) School District

The awards are given annually to African American and Hispanic seniors from high schools in the 70 urban school districts represented by the Council of the Great City Schools.

In the fall, Benben plans to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology and aspires to major in mechanical engineering.

Dupuy will be studying environmental engineering at the University of Florida.

Martinez hopes to become a doctor and will attend Johns Hopkins University, while Smallwood, who will study biophysics and also has aspirations to be a physician, will attend the University of North Carolina.

“These highly competitive scholarships give talented urban students a boost in their pursuit of postsecondary STEM studies and careers,” said Michael Casserly, executive director, Council of the Great City Schools.

“The generous support of Dr. Harris and ExxonMobil helps advance these young men and women as they begin the next stage of their lives.”

Now in its seventh year, the scholarship was created by former NASA astronaut Dr. Bernard Harris Jr., the first African-American to walk in space, and ExxonMobil to encourage and assist promising students of diverse backgrounds who plan to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies after high school.

“Reading the achievements and aspirations of these young people is truly inspirational,” said Dr. Harris. “It’s my hope that the scholarships they receive will propel them to a future of fulfilling their dreams.”

Administration of the scholarship program, including the application process, pre-selection, and presentation of awards is provided by the CGCS. Dr. Harris makes the final selection of recipients.

The Council of the Great City Schools, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, is the only national organization exclusively representing the needs of urban public schools.

Composed of 68 large city school districts, its mission is to promote the cause of urban schools and to advocate for inner-city students through legislation, research, and media relations.

The organization also provides a network for school districts sharing common problems to exchange information and to collectively address new challenges as they emerge in order to deliver the best possible education for urban youth.

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