Samantha Garvey gained media attention for becoming a semi-finalist in the prestigious Intel science contest while being homeless. She hopes that her research on ribbed mussels and how their characteristics adjust to their immediate environment will help her win the $100,000 scholarship in the contest and get her family out of the homeless shelter.
"I get so excited to tell people about my mussels and crabs that I become a completely different person," she told ABC News.
The Garvey family has been shuffling between shelters since she was very young. Her mother, Olga, has been unable to work after a car accident and her father, Leo, has been struggling to handle the family's expenses with a cab driver's salary.
Samantha's story has caught Ellen Degeneres' attention. She invited Samantha to appear on her show and is providing her with a $50,000 scholarship toward her post-secondary education, as well as a $1,000 gift card to Whole Foods and a $5,000 gift card to JC Penney to help her family get back up on their feet.
Since Samantha's story gained national publicity, her family has been offered a home by Long Island officials. She was also invited to watch Obama's State of the Union address on Jan. 24 by Rep. Steve Israel, who said, "I want her to be an example of perseverance in the face of adversity."
The finalists of the Intel science contest will be announced in a few weeks which gives Samantha some time to settle into her new home.
Photo courtesy of: Nikki Nelson/ WENN
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