Former Fernwood Montessori Student Wins College Scholarship

February 1, 2017

St. Thomas More senior Marisa Garcia has earned a prestigious QuestBridge scholarship that will cover all the education-related expenses of her undergraduate education, including tuition and room and board.

Garcia, who attended Bay View’s Fernwood Montessori School before attending St. Thomas More High School, plans to study human biology at Northwestern University.

The QuestBridge College Match scholarship program connects high-achieving, low-income students to the nation’s top universities, awarding full scholarships to the qualified applicants. Garcia was one of nearly 15,000 high school seniors to apply for the program in 2016. In December, QuestBridge notified Garcia and 766 other exceptional students that they would receive a four-year scholarship.

Garcia credits project-based learning for helping cultivate her interest in science. “At Fernwood, we only did hands-on, real-world projects, such as working in a greenhouse or building a solar panel for science class,” Garcia said.

Garcia’s studies at St. Thomas More, especially in the project-based biomedical sciences program, allowed her to expand her knowledge of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), while discovering which scientific discipline she wanted to pursue further.

“My favorite biomedical sciences project was analyzing our DNA to check for a certain gene that allowed us to taste a chemical. We then performed gel electrophoresis to visually see if we had the genotype and if it corresponded correctly with how we tasted the chemical,” Garcia said. “The project introduced me to the connections science can have with health, and I’m excited to further explore that connection in college.”

This is the second consecutive year that a St. Thomas More student has received the exclusive QuestBridge scholarship. Class of 2016 graduate Jenna Knueppel earned the QuestBridge scholarship to attend Brown University, where she is studying international relations.

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