Arkansas PBS > Engage > Blog > Congratulations, Emperor Science Award Winner Sarah Shirley!

Congratulations, Emperor Science Award Winner Sarah Shirley!

  • Posted by
  • AETN
  • on

Join ArkansasIDEAS and AETN in congratulating rising Little Rock Central High School junior and Emperor Science Award winner Sarah Shirley, of Roland!

Sarah is one of 100 PBS LearningMedia and Stand Up To Cancer’s Emperor Science Award recipients. The program is designed to encourage high school students to explore careers in science, specifically cancer research and care through a unique mentoring opportunity.

More than 800 applications from eligible 10th and 11th graders in 44 states were submitted to the 2017 program, and prominent scientists served as judges and evaluated the applications. Each student submitted essays addressing why scientific research is so important to finding a cure for cancer, as well as what scientific field they would study and why.

She said that her grandparents suffered from cancer, and that prompted her to apply for the program. She plans to pursue a career in biomedical research and, if she were a researcher, she would study immunotherapies involving antibodies to target resistant tumors and cancers.

Cancer is extremely detrimental to those affected, and its cure has yet to be found. In order to find cheaper and more efficient treatments, more research needs to be conducted to further understand the mechanisms and characteristics of cancer. I am excited to be given the opportunity to work with such an esteemed researcher in order to contribute to the effort of fighting for a cure. — Sarah Shirley

The 100 Emperor Science Award recipients will have an opportunity to conduct research in a lab, virtually or a combination of both, working with an esteemed scientist on a rewarding multi-week cancer research project.They will also receive a $1,500 stipend for expenses Google Chrome computer to enhance their studies and to facilitate mentor access for students who live far from their mentor’s research facility.

Sarah Shirley is one of the many impressive students from rural, suburban and urban communities across 29 states who comprise the second class of Emperor Science Awardees. These students demonstrated awareness of emerging developments in cancer treatment — including precision medicine, immunotherapy and epigenetics — and have a wide range of research focuses and interests, ranging from nanotechnology to gene mapping and computational sciences.

Do you know a student who would be interested in applying to become a 2018 Emperor Science Award recipient? Learn more about the program — which extends the learning and outreach for PBS documentary “Ken Burns Presents — Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, a Film by Barak Goodman” — at


Emperor Science Award recipients