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Ernestine Chaco

Ernestine Chaco

Intended Major: Chemistry and Education
Possible Career: Medicine, Education, Tribal Governance

At Navajo Prep Ernestine was the valedictorian of her class and active in a variety of organizations. She was the captain of the Science Bowl team, president of the National Honor Society, and vice president of the Outdoor Club. She is both a Gates Millennium and New Mexico Honor Scholar. She won awards in state, regional, national and international Science Fairs, including Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Special Achievement Award. She also received honorable mention at Princeton's Poetry Contest for high school juniors and several awards at New Mexico poetry contests and art exhibits. Ernestine spent fall 2001 in New England at the Mountain School of Milton Academy.

Ernestine has had wide experience in the field of scientific research. She was selected for the 2002 NASA Summer High School Apprenticeship Research Program (SHARP), spending the summer before her senior year at Boeing Satellite Systems in El Segundo, California testing thin film solar cells for space applications with professional research scientists and engineers. During the summer of 2004 Ernestine she was an intern at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratories in Chicago. She tested different H2/N2 gas mixtures in a Magnetron ion source, utilizing the Fermilab ion source test bench. In 2005 she used her grant to study Organic Chemistry and the summer of 2006 Ernestinetraveled to Canada on a Native American church mission program working with Native youth in various small reservations in Ontario and Quebec. She hopes to continue this work again this summer.

Other activites include: Delco Blind Center Volunteer, Dare to Soar mentor and tutor, Intercultural Center Intern for NASA (Native American Student Association).