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Homeless Teen Who's Up For Science Prize To Be At State Of The Union

Intel semifinalist Samantha Garvey, 17.
John Dunn
Intel semifinalist Samantha Garvey, 17.

The good news story of Samantha Garvey, a New York high school student who has been living with her family in a homeless shelter and recently found out she's a semifinalist in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search competition, keeps getting better.

First, Samantha's story inspired donations and a successful search to find her family a rent-subsidized home in Brentwood, on Long Island. They'll move in later this month. Samantha is a senior at Brentwood High School and the family fell on hard times when her mother (a nurse's assistant) couldn't work for eight months because of injuries she received in accident. Samantha's dad, a cab driver, couldn't keep up with the bills and they were evicted from their home on New Year's Eve.

And now there's word from Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) that he has invited Samantha to be his guest at next Tuesday's State of the Union Address by President Obama at the Capitol. "Looking forward to having one of Long Island's best and brightest join me," he said Tuesday on his Facebook page.

According to Newsday, "Leo Garvey, Samantha's father, said Monday his daughter was thrilled about the invitation. ... 'She can't wait,' Leo Garvey said. 'She deserves it. She needs to meet people like that.' "

According to The Associated Press:

"Garvey is one of 300 teenagers nationwide named [last week] as semifinalists in the prestigious Intel science competition; finalists will be announced at the end of January. She spent more than two years researching the effects of the Asian short crab on the mussel population in a salt marsh on Long Island, east of New York City."

Newsday put togther a video report about Samantha. She's 17 and has applied to Yale and Brown universities.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.