Local News

Lebanon County teen attends Nobel prize ceremonies in Sweden

Among the Nobel laureates and dignitaries in attendance at this year’s Nobel prize ceremonies in Sweden, was a Palmyra, Lebanon County teen who never expected to be there.

At 18, Hannah Wastyk already has a resume someone three times her age would envy.

As a high school senior, Wastyk won top honors at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), dubbed the world’s largest pre-college science competition.

Her research into melanoma showed that by inhibiting a certain gene sequence, she could stop cancerous cells from growing, while leaving healthy cells unaffected.

“A lot of problems with current cancer treatments and radiation and chemo-based therapies is that they leave patients with a lot of side effects,” Wastyk said. “But my project is showing that it’s kind of moving away from these side effects and leaving the patient in the forefront, while still being very effective.”

Wastyk’s research left the judges so impressed that they awarded her a trip to Stockholm, Sweden to attend this year’s Nobel prize ceremonies.

“Just seeing them face the audience, with such pride after years of work, basically a lifetime of achievement was just really inspiring to see,” she said.

Wastyk dined with Sweden’s royal family along with 1300 other exclusive guests at the Nobel banquet. She also had the opportunity to share and discuss her research with some of the world’s sharpest minds.

“My experience in Sweden was the most amazing thing I could ever imagine,” she said.

Only about halfway through her freshman year at the University of Delaware, she even landed herself a job offer overseas. It’s all pretty impressive for a humble, small town girl from Palmyra.

“Never give up because they are times where I just wanted to quit,” she said. “I was so frustrated thinking that all of this hard work wasn’t going to pay off, but you just have to keep going with what you love.”

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