H/Student Excellence Award Winner: Allison Brattley

Student Excellence Award Winner: Allison Brattley

In her sophomore year of high school, Allison was getting ready to take AP Calculus, when her counselor asked her if she was interested in taking physics.  As someone who is eager to take on new challenges, she started AP Physics: Mechanics and discovered a whole new world of possibilities.  Allison’s passion for physics led her to seek out many opportunities doing research and shadowing professionals.  This included working on a research team with students and professors at a local university studying quantum mechanics and cryogenics, shadowing at the Reading Hospital in the pediatrics and neurodiagnostics departments, shadowing a neurologist at a private practice, and participating in the Surgery Live Program at the Whitaker Science Center.  She also attended Women in STEM programs at Kutztown University and Penn State Berks.

Allison has excelled in her school work, receiving the Academic Scholar Award in Mathematics from 9th-11th grade, the Academic Scholar Award in Science in 9th-10th grade, the Academic Scholar Award in Social Studies in 11th grade, the 2019 President’s Education Award, and getting nominated for Berks’ Best, a county-wide competition, in both science and math.  She is also very active in her school, participating in Science Olympiad, mock trial, Interact club, playing for the volleyball team and the swim team, playing cello, flute, and piccolo, and singing in the chorus.  Outside of school, Allison volunteers at food banks and at the Shannon Sullivan Memorial Tournament each year.  She fosters cats for the SOAR rescue and has fostered dogs for Grey Muzzle Manor and Zoe’s House, where she helps to organize and run adoption events. 

Allison will begin studying physics at MIT in the fall, and plans to obtain her M.D. and Ph.D in the future.  She is very excited to expand her research and learn new things.

In her own words…

“Physics quickly became one of my favorite subjects. The class itself was just like any other high school science course, but the concepts were revolutionary to my fifteen-year-old brain; realizing that math could explain the events of daily life blew my mind. The complex mathematics I so deeply enjoyed finally had a practical application. Science and math finally had a definitive connection. I could not wait to explore what else this field had to offer.”

“Just as I thought I had learned all of the math I needed to get a good enough grasp on our research, my professor introduced me to mathematical topics I had no idea even existed. I taught myself linear algebra, eigenvalue and eigenvector operations, and commutator algebra, as well as the background quantum mechanics I needed to understand before being able to dive deeper into the physics concepts. Whereas this amount of work would deter other students, I was completely captivated and eager to learn more. The math became a gateway to understanding; each equation had practical application to the work we were doing. The platform for my love of science had been constructed. If I had liked physics before, I was enamored by it now.”

“I am curious by nature. I learn very quickly and ask an abundance of questions. I am passionate about giving 110% every day to work accurately, ethically, and with a positive attitude. I find myself always asking for constructive feedback so I can have goals for self -improvement. With a positive attitude and determination, no challenge, project, or academic endeavor is ever too large or overwhelming to complete successfully and with pride. By furthering my education, beginning at MIT, I can fulfill my dream of entering a medical research field. Higher education will help me on my way to helping others. I believe that my passion for learning is a gift that I can use to improve the lives of others.”

Acceptance Speech


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