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Student wins prestigious scholarship

An alumnus of Kings Fork High School has been awarded a prestigious scholarship as she furthers her education in mechanical engineering.

Elizabeth Childs is a graduating student from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. She is transferring to Stanford University, which selected her as one of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars. She is one out of 76 chosen out of over 8,000 who applied.

“I definitely feel happy to receive this scholarship,” said Childs. “It’s nice I will have the autonomy for my research, but it’s interesting that I will also be able to gain more experience in community leadership and developmental resources.”

The Knight-Hennessy Scholarship is a three-fold award. The scholarship not only provides funding but focuses on leadership and community. This three-year scholarship will provide the opportunity for Childs to take part in classes that focus on leadership development and address important challenges facing the world, including health care, education, climate change and justice reform.

“Essentially, the goal is to develop leaders for the community and people who are ambitious for engagement,” said Childs.

This fall, Childs plans to pursue a doctorate in mechanical engineering at Stanford’s School of

Engineering. She is graduating this May as a Banneker Key Scholar, with a cumulative GPA of 3.98, and is now ready to take her learning a step further.

“I want to research my area of interest, which is augmented reality with haptics, which gives a sense of touch and feel to the false reality,” said Childs.

She hopes this research will allow her to start her own business of developing augmented reality with haptics. According to Childs, this sort of virtual reality can create realistic training for medical training. This is also something not existent for commercial use, and Childs hopes to change that.

According to Knight-Hennessy Scholars, a few of Childs’ accomplishments include developing modular robots for explosive ordnance disposal for Cambodia, co-teaching 3D printing to pre-professionals in Cambodia and co-leading science demonstrations in indigenous Ecuadorian schools. Childs has mentored first-generation students in undergraduate research, leading them in 3D printing research. She has also published this work as a first author in the peer-reviewed Journal for Microelectromechanical Systems.

“I am very grateful to my parents for their help and support during this time of furthering my education,” said Childs.