Portola High freshman Hailey Van won a $5,000 coding award.

National STEM award winner credits IPSF


When 14-year-old Hailey Van isn’t practicing ballet or walking her dogs, she’s studying computer coding. Or marine biology. Or computational analysis.

That dedication won her a spot in Broadcom’s 2021 national STEM competition, where she won the $5,000 Broadcom Coding with Commitment Award.

“It was a completely new award, so I was excited – and really thankful,” says the Portola High freshman.

She entered her first science fair in sixth grade. Her eighth grade project (called “Multi-stressor Analysis of Carbon Dioxide on Oceanic Ecosystems”) earned her a spot in Broadcom’s STEM competition.

She’s grateful that the Irvine Public Schools Foundation helps fund Irvine’s annual science fair.

“That fostered my interest in science,” she says.

Her advice to younger girls interested in science? “Build your communication skills and don’t be afraid to do what you like to do.”

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