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CCHS grad wins national award

Chilton County High School graduate Caitlin Gardner was awarded the Young Journalist Award from the Association of Psychological Sciences.

Currently a senior majoring in biology at the University of Alabama, Gardner wrote an essay, titled “Global Warming: How It Affects Intertidal Pools” to make the scholar’s bowl team when it was selected.

Her article was chosen as the state winner and will be published in the national publication “Student Biology Journal,” in August.

She will attend the annual APS convention this May, where she and another student will represent Alabama.

Gardner is studying to take the MCAT later this month while also enrolled with 18 class hours at the university.

She doesn’t want her feelings to come across as clichéd, she said, but Gardner still feels a little shocked from winning the award.

“The whole purpose of me writing the article started off as an extra credit assignment, which turned into a spot on the science bowl team, which in turn produced this publication in a magazine,” she said.

How Gardner suddenly gained an interest in science remains even a mystery to her.

“I never liked science in high school,” she said. “I would actually go even further to say I hated it in college as well until I was forced to take a science course for my major.”

She said she enjoyed it enough that she decided to take a few more classes to make sure it was the right move to change her major.

“I guarantee if you were to ask anyone I graduated with if I would be a science major they would laugh and say ‘No.’”

She hopes to pursue pathology if she is accepted into medical school.

Her aunt, Dordie Hayes, said the family is pleased with Gardner’s hard work that continues to pay off.

“We’re very proud of her,” she said. “She’s shining so bright.”

Hayes said Gardner was always quite the avid reader. She is glad her niece has had an opportunity to showcase her academic prowess at the collegiate level.

“When you’re in high school, you can be a good student, but it’s not really indicative of what all you can do,” she said.