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School News for July 1
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North Hall grad named Cambridge scholar

Leland Taylor, a 2008 North Hall High School graduate, was recently named a NIH/Oxford/Cambridge scholar. He has been working in the genomics lab at the National Institute of Health.

Taylor was awarded a fellowship from the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program. As a NIH Cambridge Scholar, he plans to continue to his research in functional genomics under the supervision of Francis S. Collins and Ewan Birney.

Taylor graduated from Davidson College in 2012 from Davidson College with high honors in computational biology. Under the guidance of A. Malcolm Campbell and Laurie J. Heyer, he designed an interdisciplinary computational biology curriculum, integrating the fields of mathematics, computer science and biology.

For his senior thesis, Taylor developed a web-based tool to teach students the genome assembly process. He presented his project at the 2012 AAAS Student Poster Competition and received honorable mention in the category of math, technology and engineering. His thesis was later awarded the 2012 Frontis W. Johnston Award for best thesis of Davidson College’s Center for Interdisciplinary Studies.

After graduation, Taylor joined the laboratory at the National Human Genome Research Institute. In the Collins laboratory, Taylor’s research has focused on understanding the mechanisms by which genetic variation alters gene expression and contributes to diabetes susceptibility. Specifically, Taylor is interested in integrating genomic, genetic and phenotypic data to construct regulatory networks and elucidate the molecular basis of disease.

Outside of the laboratory, Taylor is an avid fly-fisherman and hiker. He also enjoys drawing the landscapes of the places his hobbies take him.

Two area students earn Alger scholarship

Gainesville High School’s Alex O. Longoria and North Forsyth High School’s Persephany L. Peterson are two of 50 high school seniors to receive the Horatio Alger Georgia Scholarship.

Each recipient receives $5,000 to go toward tuition, fees, books and on-campus housing. Additionally, the student has access to several opportunities including counseling, college-readiness tools and assessments, and graduate school funding. In addition to the scholarship, the students have access to the following opportunities:

Financial aid and scholarship counseling

College readiness tools and assessments

24/7 Support and referral services including crisis response and counseling resources

Free housing opportunities provided by Campus Crest at 44 campuses across the nation

Graduate school funding

Access to a network of their peers and alumni through the Association’s website, Facebook and LinkedIn

The Horatio Alger Association’s scholarship programs are funded by its members, friends of the organization and other foundations. Since 1987, the Association has provided nearly $2 million in scholarships to Georgia’s high school seniors.

From staff reports