Discovering the Answers

Madyson Barber’s mom likes to joke that by the time she returned to work from parental leave, her daughter could already count to 10. Though this is perhaps an exaggeration, it is absolutely true that Barber flashed a natural aptitude for math and science from a young age. In high school, she wrote an extended essay for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program on the viability of asteroid deflection methods.

“That was the course that really got me interested in astrophysics,” Barber said. “I thought that I would probably study math or engineering, but I guess I just became fascinated with space and realized that was going to be my direction.”

Barber’s high school work was so superlative that she applied for and received a scholarship from the Chancellor’s Science Scholars program, a scholarship, training and leadership program to attract talented high school students to Carolina. For a student who grew up wanting to go to UNC-Chapel Hill, the scholarship was a dream come true.

“It meant that I got into my first school and had a way to pay for it, along with all the other help that comes with being a Chancellor’s Science Scholar,” Barber said.

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