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Bob Evans and Wayne White Scholarship Fuels Passion for Science

A Passion for Science Born in Appalachian Ohio

Shelby Newsad works in a lab at Ohio State.

Shelby Newsad works in a lab at Ohio State.

As a sixth grader, Shelby Newsad became enthralled by science, biotechnology, and the potential they have to help people. Her participation in the Women in the Sciences program at Marietta College during elementary school instilled a passion for scientific research and development that has guided her path ever since.

“I didn’t know many women who were professionals, let alone women who worked in science,” shared Shelby.

A 2012 graduate of Fort Frye High School in Washington County, Shelby was a recipient of the Bob Evans and Wayne White Scholarship. This and other scholarships made Shelby’s education at The Ohio State University, where she is currently a senior majoring in biochemistry, possible.

While at Ohio State, Shelby has found numerous opportunities to make sure her sixth grade dream of conducting scientific research became reality, thanks to her Appalachian work ethic and her willingness to pursue any opportunity. Not being afraid to ask for an opportunity has led Shelby to research everything from cancer treatments and DNA’s impact on disease to how certain organisms can make energy from carbon dioxide.

“A lot of the opportunities I’ve applied for, I didn’t think I had a chance, but I applied anyway and look how it turned out,” noted Shelby. “A lot of the opportunities I have received I got because I simply knocked on the door, introduced myself, and said that I wanted to work there and have that opportunity.”

A Commitment to Where She Came From

Along the way, Shelby has not forgotten the Appalachian communities where she grew up and how a single opportunity might develop a lifelong passion. Shelby helped her roommate develop the Beginner’s Access to Science Education (BASE) curriculum to make science more accessible to students in under resourced communities like Appalachian Ohio. This past winter break, Shelby and her roommate brought the BASE curriculum to the Fort Frye School District where they led kindergarten through sixth grade students in fun, interactive science-based activities. By the end of their time in the classroom, students were saying how much they like science, just like Shelby did so many years ago.

“Going back to Beverly and Fort Frye really brought it full circle for me – I was one of those kids sitting in those desks not so long ago,” added Shelby.

Leading the Way for Appalachian Girls in Science

Her research and can-do attitude has taken her to conferences at Harvard University and in Brazil. She spent this past summer conducting research in Germany while thriving in a new culture and learning about her ability to adapt. Her academic success, hard work, and scientific passions have led Shelby to her next goal: hopefully pursuing a Ph.D at Cambridge University in England upon her graduation.

After completing her Ph.D., Shelby sees herself developing a green energy business based on her scientific research.

“My research in specific fields like cancer and DNA led me to pursue a career in green energy,” said Shelby. “Preserving our earth is so important to me. It is truly an expanding field and I am eager to contribute to research that creates more efficient and equitable fuel sources. I want to be a part of that.”

No matter where she ends up and what she does, the lessons Shelby learned as a student in Appalachian Ohio and the opportunities made possible through scholarships like the Bob Evans and Wayne White Scholarship will carry her forward. Shelby proves through her hard work and perseverance what is truly possible for students throughout our region, and how resources provided by the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio truly make a difference, while giving others the opportunity to support what’s closest to their hearts.