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Homeless science scholar to attend State of the Union speech

By Kristina Sgueglia, CNN
updated 8:09 PM EST, Tue January 17, 2012
Samantha Garvey, 17, has not let living in a homeless shelter deter her from her dreams.
Samantha Garvey, 17, has not let living in a homeless shelter deter her from her dreams.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • New York Rep. Steve Israel invites homeless science scholar to speech
  • Samantha Garvey found out she was Intel semifinalist last week
  • Two days later, she was given a home by county officials

New York (CNN) -- The young New York student whose tale of hard work and endurance in the face of homelessness has captured many hearts -- and whose recognition in the prestigious Intel science competition has already given her much to celebrate -- will be attending the president's State of the Union speech.

"Well, you know the SOTU attracts the most powerful people in the world, and I think Samantha can teach them a lesson in perseverance," New York Rep. Steve Israel said.

Israel, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has extended his plus one to Samantha Garvey, a 17-year-old homeless science superstar from Brentwood, New York.

Garvey was told last week at the shelter her family had been staying in that her study on the ribbed sea mussels of Long Island's salt marshes had earned her semifinalist recognition in Intel's science talent search and a potential $100,000 scholarship.

Homeless teen up for $100K science prize

Two days later, after county officials heard Garvey's story, they announced that a three-bedroom home in Bellmore would be rented for the Garvey family as part of Suffolk County's affordable housing program.

The Garveys were living in a shelter after being kicked out of their home on New Year's Eve.

Israel called Garvey "an inspiration," and said he thought her presence would be an important influence on attendees of President Barack Obama's address on January 24.

"The same people that will praise Samantha with one hand might be the same people that will slash budgets for science and education on the other," Israel said.

Her story, he said, was one of staying steadfast in the face of adversity.

Israel said he had plans for himself and Garvey to meet with multiple White House officials before the speech.

The next day, Garvey will find out if she made it to the Intel finals.

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